World of Kulan DM
Kanpur: The Ancient LandsLike with my Kulan: Lands of Harqual thread, this thread will detail one of the continents for World of Kulan, my homebrewed campaign world. This thread will be for my largest continent, Kanpur. The continent is my version of Europe, Africa, and Asia all rolled into one huge landmass.
Up until this point, I have only sketched out Kanpur in my head. I haven't written much down on paper or electronically. I'm hoping this thread will change all that. There is one region, The Northwest, which I have done the most work on, but now I want to delve into the rest of the continent.
Like with all my continents, Kanpur has been greatly influence by the old TSR Worlds and campaign settings. In fact, the eastern part of Kanpur will be a huge homage to Kara-Tur and Al-Qadim. It has its own Far East and its own Land of Fate. But, more on that later...
RACES OF KANPUR
As with my race lists in my World of Kulan thread, I will be creating lists for the various regions of Kanpur. The continent is way to big to have one list of races. There is too much diversity for that to work. However, there are races that can be found anywhere from the Dark Continent to the Iceshield Lands. However, while these races can be found everywhere, it doesn't mean they are the dominant races of Kanpur. Many of these races, like the Baklath and Fremlins, are races that live on the fringes of most societies and aren't always accepted in them. On the other hand, humans, halflings, and kobolds (but not dire kobolds or urds) are three of the major races living on the continent, usually in both rural and urban communities. The dragontouched are also common but not the other dragonblooded races.
RACES OF KANPUR
Part One: Anywhere on the Continent
● The Baklath †
● Centaur, nomadic
● Draconic creature [Template] | [Dragontouched] †
● Dracovaran †
● Dragonborn [Modified] †
● Felid [Template]
● The Feytouched
● Fremlin †
● Giantborn [Template]
● Half-Dragon [Template]
● Half-Fey [Template]
● Half-Troll [Template]
● Half-Vampire [Template]
● Kobold, dire
† Homebrewed racial traits.
THE FAR NORTH
The Far North, which was once meant to be the northern half of The Northwest has become its own region.
BARD'S GATE (d20 Sourcebook)
Necromancer Games created some of the best fantasy RPG sourcebooks ever made. And while "Bard's Gate" isn't my favorite NG book, it's an excellent city setting that can be dropped into any world. I admit that I've had some difficulty trying to figure out a place to put the city, but after pouring over my map of Kanpur, I think I've found the perfect spot for it.
Bard's Gate is a crossroads city that stands on a major trade route. That's the city's hook as far as I can tell. Plus, the city is meant to be in a cold to temperate zone. Therefore, I've made it a gateway city to the Eastern Lands from Torassia and the rest of the Far North. It is the last major, western-style city before a traveler passes into the Horse Lands.
It sits on the Stoneheart River, which flows south towards Sogukol [not shown on the map]. Its location is vital since the southerly half of the river is untamable. There are two sets of falls and tons of rapids, which makes any sort of crossing nearly impossible. The river flows into the edge of the Great Desert and often floods in the spring.
Travelers must pass through Bard's Gate if they wish to travel the Ice Road to the Far East while, hopefully, avoiding the predatory Mongol-like raiders of Sogukol. However, travelers must also be wary of the Nani Tribes of the Orochen Forest as well as vicious gnoll raiders and the undiplomatic Liget Elves of the region. (Liget means “wood” in Hungarian.)
Norway, Sweden, and Denmark — the Scandinavian countries are a huge part of my heritage. Norse mythology (along with Greek and Egyptian mythology) is what spring-boarded me towards studying myth and ancient history as well as playing D&D.
Hjemland is full of human raiders (who tend to “go a Viking” in the southern lands each spring and summer) as well as the traditional creatures of Norse mythology. The sourcebook Frost & Fur (see under Torassia below) gives great detail of several Norse monsters and races as does “D&D Frostburn: Mastering the Perils of Ice and Snow.” Frost & Fur also gives alternate versions of the PHB races designed for a Norse campaign.
It is important to note that, in my cosmology, Ragnarök has occurred. This means that Hjemland won't be a completely traditional Norse setting as depicted in D&D Deities and Demigods. (It's going to be twisted.)
THE ICE FLOW
The Ice Flow is likely to be a no-man's-land full of dire polar bears and some of the nastier monstrous creatures from “D&D Frostburn.” A main feature will be the treacherous ice floes that make the region hazardous to traverse. Yet, adventurers often brave this subregion in order to try to find several ancient ruins that are known to exist. Each island in the Flow has at least one major ruin and it is believed there are many more. These ruins are rumored to be from an ancient civilization.
A well known legend states that a powerful Empire of Ice existed on the northern shores of Kanpur before the ice age occurred and that its legacy are the ruins of the Flow. The denizens of this empire were half-ice elementals who worshiped the Ice Lords or Frost Princes of Elemental Evil. No one knows for sure since those few adventurers that have survived the Ice Flow are hesitant to talk about their experiences in the frostfell ruins.
While my heritage is Scandinavian I'm big fan of Finnish mythology too. I have been ever since I first read the PLANESCAPE sourcebook “On Hallowed Ground.” The Finnish deities have greatly affected the design of World of Kulan. Harqual in particular. Therefore, it was a given that I'd add a Finnish subregion to Kanpur. I had originally planned to make Hjemland a Norse-Finnish cross, but once I decided to “Ragnarök” my cosmology, I felt I needed to separate the Finnish land from Hjemland.
Thus, I created Kotimi. The name still feels a little awkward but until I come up with something better, it will remain Kotimi. The land is frozen an forested. Kotimi's cold woodlands are influenced by the craggy, deep forests of Waldheim directly to the southwest. Directly to the north of Kotimi's woodlands is a small glacier that is remnant from Kulan's recent ice age (2,000+ years ago).
NILVAH (Latvian and Estonian [Terra Mariana])
"There is no mythological system in the Latvian tradition resembling that of Greeks or Romans. All the bulk of facts entitled this way is just a derivation from the Latvian folklore material, and mostly - song texts. This makes all the study on it just speculation."
Aldis Putelis. - Encyclopedia Mythica
Ever since I first discovered Encyclopedia Mythica, I have delved into mythologies I didn't even know existed. Now that site has a whole section devoted to Latvian mythology and Folklore. Nilvah will be a land inspired by this more obscure mythology and its folklore. I’ll likely create several creatures based on the stories of Latvia as soon as I find time to read more about it on the website.
DM's Note: While working on my expanded hex map for The Northwest, I'm taking another look at both Nilvah and Szulolia. Doing some pseudo-research about Latvia on Wikipedia eventually brought me to a page on Terra Mariana, which was the official name for Medieval Livonia (or Old Livonia). Terra Mariana was formed in the wake of the Livonian Crusade in the territories comprising present day Estonia and Latvia. Since Estonia is part of that historical land, its traditions will be part of Nilvah as well.
This time period seems like good starting point for the region around Nilvah. This means it won't be only based on Latvian myths and folklore. I guess the best way to look at the region is Kanpur's version of the Baltic Tribes. Now, since Nilvah is landlocked, the Baltic influence will be altered considerably. And Szulolia is a cold desert, so the region will likely be more fantastical. I've already added Castle Ravenloft in the northern half of the forests of Nilvah, so it's a given that the region will be pseudo-Baltic in nature.
This isolated, frozen island is one of the many islands in Kulan's Arctic that is dominated by indigenous humanoids with cultures based on Eskimo/Inuit lore. The d20 sourcebook “Frost & Fur: The Explorer's Guide to the Frozen Land” has a wealth of v.3.5 material for an Inuit-based campaign, and I am doing my own research on Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Mythica. Frost & Fur will remain my primary RPG source until I find something better.
Nuvuti will be based on the Yupik of Siberia's Chukchi Peninsula. The Nuvutik practice shamanism and revere animals such as the orca, the wolf, the raven, the spider, and the whale. Sea animals are very important and their spirits must be appeased. The Nuvutik live primarily on one island, which is their traditional homeland, but they can be found living, hunting, and traveling throughout Kanpur's northern lands.
Orochen is a large taiga forest that spans the northern coast from Bard's Gate in the west to the edge of the Iceshield Lands in the east. However, it is also the name that outsiders give the denizens of the forest. Torassians call them Orochs or Orochis, but in truth, that is only one name for the various tribes of this expansive region. The tribes living near Bard's Gate usually refer to themselves as the Oani. They are hunters and fishers, for the most part, and live a settled lifestyle. There are exceptions but those tribes usually live deeper in the forest and are less civilized. The Oani are a spiritual people; their religious leaders are shamans.
There is also a race of feral elves that live in the western half of the Orochen Forest. They are called Liget elves and dislike intruders in what they consider their homeland. (This includes everyone else except the Oani.) Liget elves worship spirits of the land and revere the forest's powerful fey creatures as quasi-deities. Those fey lords, in return, protect the Liget from the machinations of Torassian expansionists and Sogukol raiders. The forest is home to other, more dark, denizens as well. Monstrous vermin, cannibalistic frost ghuls, and several tribes of evil humanoids living in underground caves.
SZULOLIA (West Slavic | Uralic Peoples [mainly Ugric] | Cold Desert [loosely based on the Deliblato Sands])
Szulolia needed a rewrite, badly. I have never had a clear vision for it, yet I'd never take it off the map. Previously, my idea was to base its peoples on Hungarians, but since Szulolia is a desert, it never really worked for me. Instead, I've decided to extend Kanpur's Slavic influences. There is Torassia (see below), which will be based on East Slavic peoples (mainly Russio-Slavs), but now, there will also be a people based more on West Slavic peoples.
However, these Szul Slavs won't be alone in the region. I've gone away from the idea of a specific Hungarian region and expanded more into the idea of a Uralic people with emphasis on the Ugric peoples (not only Hungarians but also the indigenous peoples known as the Khanty [Ostyaks] and the Mansi [Voguls]). There is a region (historically known as Yugra) in Russia where these two tribes lived. Therefore, Kanpur's Ugric peoples will be originally either be from Szulolia or Torassia. Regardless, they are now primarily found in Szulolia.
As for the desert, there is only one major desert in Europe to base Szulolia's terrian/climate on — the Deliblato Sands. And while that 'desert' is small (300 km²) in comparison to Szulolia, it can still provide the basis for a desert region in the north of Western Lands. The Deliblato Sands were once part of a much larger prehistoric desert, so for Kanpur, this prehistoric desert has remained. An important difference will be how cold Szulolia will be in comparison to the real world Sands. Szulolia is known for its high winds and temperature extremes (with cool and freezing cold being the norm). The desert's diversity is legendary including gigantic/monstrous versions of mole rats, steppe skunks & gerbils, verminous desert ants, falcons & eagles, wolves, roe deer, and boars.
TORASSIA (East Slavic [Russian])
This land is based on two books, which are both from Monkey God Enterprises. The first is the adventure “Tsar Rising.” The second is Monkey God's last hardcover release, “Frost & Fur: The Explorer's Guide to the Frozen Land.” Tsar Rising details the Torassia campaign, while sections of Frost & Fur seem to support that setting. I liked Tsar Rising so much that instead of converting it for Harqual, I've decided to include Torassia on Kanpur. It's a great fit. Frost & Fur even goes so far as to provide Slavic-related equipment and a pantheon of Slavic gods.
WALDHEIM (Germanic [Merovingian Dynasty | plus untamed tribes
To be rewritten.
MAP OF "THE FAR NORTH"
RACES OF KANPUR (cont.)
Part Two: The Far North
The races living in this region vary from the highly civilized to the highly savage. There are a lot of giantblooded races to choose from for the Far North. However, dwarves, elves & half-elves, orcs & half-orcs, an rakasta & kitts all have their place here alongside humans, halflings, and kobolds as the most common races of the region. Midgard dwarves primarily live in Hjemland alongside races with the Norse Humanoid template. The bronth, a bear-like race, are also common in this region. Half-blooded races such as half-bugbears, half-goblins, and ogrekin are a little less uncommon and more likely to be savage. Mammuth titanites are a race of bipedal, mammoth-blooded elephant-kin.
● Bronth †
● Dwarf, Midgard
● Dwarf, tiger
● Elf, wood
● Giant, cave
● Giant, hill
● Giant, stone
● Giant, taiga
● Kitt †
● Lizardfolk, blackscale
● Norse Humanoid [Template]
● Ogrekin [Template]
● Rakasta †
● Titanite, Mammuth †
† Homebrewed racial traits.
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