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Mor's End History and Religion

Lalato

Adventurer
jdavis... all good points... and I agree with all of them.

For the last time, though... It's Castellan NOT Castillian.
Castellan is a title... like Mayor.
Castilian is someone from a certain part of Spain. :D

fusangite, I dub you the reluctant minister of history. (any seconds on that?)

Yes... I can tell fusangite is fighting it... but we all know he wouldn't have started this thread if he didn't want it deep down. ;)

--sam
 

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fusangite

First Post
OK. Here are some more responses to the comments. Thanks so much for the input!

In response to Conaill:

Do try to work with the existing elements a bit more. Kul Moren instead of Irkulngoravrom. Replace the Derro with some of the existing enemies in the area (orcs, hobgoblins etc.)

I think you're misreading my history in these two particular cases:
(1) the Derro only existed historically. They have been wiped out. All that remains are the bands of evil humans and monstrous humanoids they employed as mercenaries. The reason I used the Derro is because I wanted there to be a strong historical foundation for Mor's End's close and positive relationship with the dwarves. You'll note that the marauding orcs and gnolls are the former mercenaries of the Derro. The reason I chose to substitute hobgoblins with gnolls is that I wanted a nice alignment fit: orcs, derro and gnolls are all chaotic evil.
(2) Kul Moren, you'll note is a place in the story; it refers to the trading post the dwarven realm set up for dealing with humans. So, it's not that I've taken Kul Moren out -- I've just made it an outpost of a much larger kingdom. I've also chosen to make the dwarvish words very different from human words. That's a stylistic choice on my part. I thougth that Kul Moren would work well if it were to be understood as a translinguistic name -- like Strasbourg.

In response to your alternate historical synthesis, if you don't mind I'd like to hear people's responses to this post before I get down to commenting on your latest effort.

In response to Lalato:

On the question of the female city leader, you're right that I decided to use the "mysterious figure" theory of the leader rather than a matrilineal leadership structure. However, I'm not at all married to this. I just saw the mysteriousness aspect of the leader to be the most common take on her.

In response to Tonguez:

My response to the hobgoblin question is above. However, I've been re-confused about what Kul Moren is. I had mistakenly thought it was a dwarf realm with which the city was trading. If it isn't, whom are the city merchants trading with and where are the dwarves who seem to important to the city located?

I had sort of envisioned the goblinoids harassing the city as unorganized and chaotic rather than being directed from a city that has a sort of Minas Morgul relationship to Mor's End.

On a stylistic point, I have trouble with a mythic history giving a character two names. I think we should refer to the general or whoever he is as either Erek or Nohan not both. I have no problem with people in the present day having two names but I think giving an important historic figure two names makes them seem too present, too mundane.

In response to jdavis:

1. I'm very fond of the Goblinoid Kingdom, orcs, goblins, hobgoblins and Bugbears. It needs a name but it plugs in pretty well to what is going on in the swamps, and gives the city something to fear, the rise of a second Goblinoid kingdom. (see the guard thread for more on orcs and goblins and such)

I think the re-emergence of a unifying force mobilizing the goblinoids is very much the backdrop I (and seemingly everyone else) have in mind for the city. I'm completely pro this idea. I'm only quibbling about historical antecedents to it. I'd rather the goblinoid kingdom be a new thing rather than an old thing reconstituted.

I'd like a little direction from people about how strong a principle they think alignment should be in this world. That will certainly affect which creatures we group together as allies.

I'm very much in favour of listing bugbears with the orcs because they fit into the alignment scheme very well. It's just such a damn shame D&D gave them such a dumb name. In my campaign I call them Greater Gnolls.

2. The land isn't big enough to wander for 7 years, I don't think it is much more than a couple of weeks walk from Kul Moren to Mor's End.

The term "seven years" I use figuratively to mean "a long time" to give the history a more mythic dramatistic flavour. Also, given that Mor's End and Enheim are supposed to be plunked down in various worlds, I thought it would be helpful for Mor to walk "off the map" and into defined areas. This helps to establish links between defined areas of the game world into which this is imported and Enheim.

Also, I had thought that historically, Enheim didn't have sufficient population to raise any sort of effective army, especially given its tiny geographic size.

3. I liked the idea that the town was burned down and rebuilt in it's past, thus giving rise to the big south wall and the Muster (Mor's Ends version of a Military Draft). Please work that in.

Hey -- that I will do. I should have picked up on this the first time. Thanks for the reminder.

4. We have been using the term Castellan instead of mayor.

As above. I actually used "castellan" in one of my drafts.

5. Work the silk fish into the Perch goddess story, why are these jellyfish only found here in this lake. (good for mythology purposes)
6. The tree can be in the courtyard of the Citadel (Mor's ancient fortress?).
7. There are warrens under the city that are mysterious and unknown.

As above. I'll get right on that.

8. Trade is the bloodline of the city, that needs to be worked in somehow, the city is at the crossing of several great trade routes (which are still up in the air in another thread

I think I'll wait until this is hammered out a little better. The problem with being specific about these is that doing so tends to define the off-map area. Any ideas about how to incorporate this in a non-specific way?
 

Conaill

First Post
Fusangite: I believe Kul Moren is only 800 strong, i.e a small dwarven keep. By now, Mor's End itself actually contains more dwarves than that (20% of 10,000), kinda like how there's more Irish in the US than in Ireland. :) I'm not sure we want to expand it into an outpost of a larger dwarven realm, because that would make Mor's End harder to plug in for a DM. Same reason as why we've been reluctant to specify Enheim any further.
 

jdavis

First Post
The battles of the past were probably not huge wars by comparison, we are on the edge of civilization here. Clan war between Derro and Dwarves with the Derro making a alliance with the Great Goblinoid kingdom of the south to gain a upper hand, then starting with Mor's rebellion it turned the other way.

The caravan routes are the reason for the massive amount of settling in Mor's End. Of course a 300 year old city is by no means new, but the caravan routes, the silk fish, the clay and the sapphires have caused a population boom. I wouldn't worry about where the caravan routes go to in the history just that this is the best river crossing for hundreds of miles in either direction. The lone tree in the courtyard is a good story and I love the feel it adds, but the reason to settle here is to control the river crossing.

The Goblinoid kingdom would of been a big bunch of united tribes under the powerful rule of Bugbears and Hobgoblin warloards, it would of sucked the other monsterous races into it but it was really no more a nation or a kingdom than it was a big bully organization that controlled the area and the lesser tribes in it. The end of this powerbase was probably associated with the burning of the city, when too many Bugbears and Hobgolbins died and could no longer maintain a grip on the lesser tribes. Hobgoblins tend to live in the Mountains ( I am assuming North and West of the lake), their are very few Bugbears left anywhere and goblins and orcs roam free in chaos to the south. The losses probably started before the city was even built but there willb e a hero of the siege who slew the Bugbear king (or Hobgoblin warlord or some such) that finally shattered the Goblinoid kingdom.
 

Lalato

Adventurer
(1) the Derro only existed historically. They have been wiped out. All that remains are the bands of evil humans and monstrous humanoids they employed as mercenaries. The reason I used the Derro is because I wanted there to be a strong historical foundation for Mor's End's close and positive relationship with the dwarves. You'll note that the marauding orcs and gnolls are the former mercenaries of the Derro. The reason I chose to substitute hobgoblins with gnolls is that I wanted a nice alignment fit: orcs, derro and gnolls are all chaotic evil.

Well... as long as the Derro have been wiped out... I don't have problem with them being in the history. Initially we also had Yak Men in the history, but they're not SRD so we had to drop them. I like the idea that alignment plays a role in which of these groups work together... but I don't have a problem with all the various Evil alignments working together.

(2) Kul Moren, you'll note is a place in the story; it refers to the trading post the dwarven realm set up for dealing with humans. So, it's not that I've taken Kul Moren out -- I've just made it an outpost of a much larger kingdom. I've also chosen to make the dwarvish words very different from human words. That's a stylistic choice on my part. I thougth that Kul Moren would work well if it were to be understood as a translinguistic name -- like Strasbourg.

Kul Moren is a dwarven mining community. It is possible that it might be part of a larger dwarven kingdom or that it is just a small dwarven community. Initially it was envisioned that Kul Moren would be a fairly short distance from Mor's End.

In response to Lalato:

I see... I think Conaill has a good idea in that there is a matrilineal succession to the name Lady Kelvin... however, this family has slipped in and out of control of the city... The current Lady Kelvin is simply from that line. She might be mysterious and aloof... but at least she has a history with the city. I still think we should keep the current Lady Kelvin's personal name Nonna Deleric. It's a subtle reminder of the whole Eric's Grandmother thing without being over the top.

In response to Tonguez:

In the original history... The dwarves were here first. There were also local nomadic herdsmen in the area. The dwarves noticed caravans coming through the area and started to trade some of their iron for other goods. The caravans used a route that was about a 2 day hike away from Kul Moren. Eventually Mor's End was founded at a point where the caravans crossed the river... and the dwarves started trading with the city. Some dwarves eventually settled in the city. Kul Moren is NW from Mor's End. Your history adds some flavor to this trading relationship.

The goblinoids harassing the city could have been part of your Derro kingdom... or they could have been a competing evil kingdom that died out through infighting. Either way... the goblinoids have always harassed caravans, traded slaves... and on occassion they have attacked the city in massive numbers... once they even burned the city to the ground. Some of them ache for a return of the kingdom... others are happy living with their clansmen and raiding caravans.

I don't care if it's Erek Nohan or simply Erek or Eregh or Erekh... Barbarians don't generally have last names anyway so I'm fine with it just being Erek. Same goes for Mor.

I think I'll wait until this is hammered out a little better. The problem with being specific about these is that doing so tends to define the off-map area. Any ideas about how to incorporate this in a non-specific way?

The current history dictates that the "civilized" lands are to the North of Enheim. There has been a robust debate on whether the trade routes come from the NW or the NE... or even both. At any rate... the lands to the south are supposed to be less civilized, and we have also hinted that there are barbarian lands to the south (Sand Barbarians have been mentioned).

--sam
 

Conaill

First Post
lalato said:
I don't care if it's Erek Nohan or simply Erek or Eregh or Erekh... Barbarians don't generally have last names anyway so I'm fine with it just being Erek. Same goes for Mor.
Nohan could be a title. "Eregh, the Nohan of the Eastern Tribes". Eh, just Eregh is fine with me.
 

fusangite

First Post
OK -- here's the second draft. But first, please vote in the poll I set up to clarify who Lady Kelvin is.

And now, the history (draft #2):

Legend of the Enorian Lake and Mountains

At the beginning of time when the world was covered by the ocean, fishes larger than anyone can imagine lived in shining cities of shells beneath the sea. These realms existed for countless ages until the gods raised up the world from the ocean.

While most of the fishes abandoned their cities and fled to the outer ocean, Enoria the Perch was too proud of her beautiful castle with its grey rock spires. And so she swallowed a thousand thousand gallons of water and when she was raised onto the land, she spat it out and dove into the lake it made.

When Enoria dove into her new home, she was greatly displeased to discover that the thousand thousands gallons of water she had swallowed had contained all manner of creatures: seaweed, silkfish, anemones, barnacles, crabs and even other fishes. Seeking always to make the lake her own dominion, Enoria spends her life far beneath the surface, devouring the interlopers who stole away in her belly.

It is said by some mariners that Enoria still emerges on rare occasions from beneath the surface of the lake to gaze upon the shattered remnants of her castle. It is for this reason that attracts a small number of worshippers who pray to her for bountiful catches of fish from the lake and in exchange protect the secret of her lair beneath the water.

Legend of the Founding

Year of Mor 1-70

For as long as anyone can remember, the dwarves of Irkulngoravrom have been at war with the Derro of Dvoriathroglim, each vying to dominate the endless caverns beneath the Enorian Mountains. Fortunately for those who live in the light of day, much of this war has taken place in the deep places of the earth where their two realms converge.

Nevertheless, the people of Enheim have, for many years, lived in fear of the Derro's slave raiders: orcs, bugbears, gnolls and most often savage human tribes of the Enorian Mountains. Yet despite the raids, a tiny scattered human population has eked out an existence in the narrow realm of Enheim. For many centuries, the people of Enheim lived a marginal life, scratching out an existence either as pastoralists along the Milvius River valley, herding various animals or, more often, as fisherfolk along the shores of Lake Enoria.

One day, many hundreds of years ago, a boy named Mor was born in a small fishing village in the foothills of the Enorian Mountains. It is said that Mor's mother died in child birth and his father was a cruel man who sold his son to Derro slavers.

Raised as a glorified draft animal under the capricious and cruel yolk of the Derro, Mor nonetheless realized he had a great destiny. As one of the mining slaves, he quickly learned many of the Derro secrets of mining, smithing and masonry and came to be respected by his fellow slaves who included men, giants, gnomes, goblinoids and dwarves from Dvoriathroglim.

In particular, Mor befriended Erekh, a barbarian of the Enorian Mountain tribes; where Mor was prized by the Derro for his stone cunning and artisanal skill, Erekh was prized for his extraordinary strength and endurance which rivaled that of the hill giants who served as expensive and slothful occasional workers when feats of great strength were required.

One day, while working in the mines, there was a great cave-in in which Mor was believed to have been killed, under thousands of tons of stone. But somehow, by luck, great strength or magic art, Mor and Erekh escaped and travelled through long-forgotten passages to the surface.

Mor and Erekh thanked the gods for their great fortune in allowing them to escape and set off home. But when Mor arrived in Enheim, he found the whole land laid waste by the Derro's mercenaries and his own village reduced to ash. Mor was filled with grief and inconsolable; nevertheless, Erekh would not abandon him and instead brought him home to his tribe.

After grieving for seven weeks, Mor was visited in his sleep by a vision of Erekh leading a great army to smash the Derro kingdom. When he awoke he told his dream to the wise man of the village who told Mor that he had himself been visited by the very same dream that night; so it was with everyone in the tribe. And so it was decreed that Erekh would lead the tribe to war. Over the next seven years, he traveled to all the divers lands from which his fellow slaves had been taken and raised a great army of many races and lands including many dwarves from the kingdom of Irkulngoravrom who were eager to strike a decisive blow against their ancient enemies.

After seven years of marching, the army arrived at the gates of Dvoriathroglim and fought a great field against cunning and bloodthirsty mercenaries of the Derro. But after a seven year siege, the army smashed through the stone gates of the kingdom and met the evil dwarf kin in battle. But even as he surrendered, the Derro king pierced Erekh with a poisoned dagger and the great warrior died even as victory had been won. But the general's sacrifice was not in vain. Kin long sundered were reunited and Mor took from Derro a great horde they had collected through tribute as well as the treasures from their mines.

Even as he mourned for his longtime companion the night after the final battle, Mor was again visited by a prophetic dream -- a dream that he would build a great city wherever three eagles alighted on a cypress tree. While most of the slaves and the army returned to their homes, many like Mor had no home to which to return. It is said that following his dream, Mor and his followers marched for seven long years until they came to an island in the Milvius River across from the tiny fishing village of Vollita. On this island stood a single cypress; as Mor looked out upon the isle, three eagles alighted on the tree before his eyes.

It is on the precise site that Mor and his followers built their city (of course the cypress tree still remains at the centre of the city in the courtyard of Mor's citadel), aided by gnomes, giants and dwarves whose knowledge and strength allowed the construction of the many wondrous structures in the city and, of course, its nigh-impenetrable walls. But when the city was completed, instead of setting himself on its new bronze throne, he sent to the hill tribes of the Enorian Mountains for Erekh's son whom he placed on the ducal throne in honour of his father. And for the years that remained to him, Mor served as the castellan of Erekh, son of Erekh.

After his death, Mor was granted a place amongst the gods from whence he used, on occasion, to advise the city's first thirty-one dukes before their line came to an end.
The Clay Years

Year of Mor 71-169

Shortly after Mor's End was built, the dwarvish masons who had served Mor discovered that the soil west of the city was made of the richest, finest clays ranging in colour from a deep ochre to a strange violet clay whose like they had never before seen. The claybed rich, pure and spanned a great area. And so the dwarves traveled north with merchants and court officials to Irkulngoravrom with samples of the clay. After a time, Mor's End concluded a rich trade agreement with the dwarves of the Enorian Mountains who even added a trading post to Kul Moren (the human contraction of a much longer dwarven name), their mine located closest to human lands.

The combination of the clay trade, the new city's impressive guard and the defeat of the Derro led to a period of great prosperity and growth for Enoria and Mor's End. Forests were cleared, swamps were drained and the fishermen and herders were joined by farmers, many of whom were fleeing men called the Sand Barbarians far to the south.

But after a time, the scattered and defeated orcs, bugbears, gnolls and other evil creatures also returned to Enoria. Lacking the resources and direction of their former masters they nonetheless made fearsome raiders who again and again harried the fledgling town and surrounding countryside. They burned crops and smashed fishing boats; three times, the city had to pay them a ransom to be spared. Often, also, the city paid tribute to the dwarves of Kul Moren or the barbarian mountain tribes to defend it against the ravages of orcs and their allies.

Yet despite all the city's efforts, a great hobgoblin chieftan Zomb, who had united many of the tribes, breached the walls one summer and his host poured into the city. Many citizens fled downstream in fishing boats and makeshift rafts while others fled across the plain; still others were taken away in chains by the raiders while many dwarves secreted themselves in the underground dwellings they had been carving out beneath the city. But most of the city's population were put to the sword. It is in this battle that the last Erekhson duke died without a male heir.

It was in this flight that a party of gnomes was rescued by a fleet of perch fishers. Their fear of orcish spears and hobgoblin swords overwhelmed their historic fear of water. During their three weeks on Lake Enoria, they first saw the water silk and conceived of its value.

The Silk Years

The Year of Mor 170-322

Fortunately, whatever unity Zomb instilled in the disparate humanoids who fought under his red skull banner quickly evaporated as they sacked the city, burning, raping and murdering. And when winter came, many returned to their homelands in the mountains while others set upon eachother in petty squabbles over loot.

Thus, when the Castellan Bruch who had escaped the sack returned with many of the scattered inhabitants and a disciplined force of dwarves from Kul Moren, the invaders were soon driven away.

Bruch then oversaw the reconstruction of the city, a long labour of repairing the breached walls and building new ones; most of the wooden buildings had been destroyed by the invaders and the stone structures damaged. But the work was made easier by the discovery of the dwarves who had discovered a store of ancient quarried stone in the natural caverns they had found beneath the city. The stone was of a kind not found in the Enorian Mountains and proved sturdy enough to fashion new walls. Word also quickly spread of the discovery of the gnomish water silk and soon, new merchants appeared in the city, eager to buy a place in the city's hierarchy by aiding in the reconstruction.

The Silk Years were a prosperous time. No longer did the merchants of Mor's End have to travel to Kul Moren to sell their wares (though many still did); now, merchants came from far off lands to buy water silk and violet clay and carried them off in their caravans. Still other merchants with only a passing interest in the clay and silk set up a brisk transit trade now that Enoria was safe enough for their caravans. These new merchants came not only from the North but from the East and West as well, making Mor's End a favoured crossing of the River Milvius. Some loremasters claim that in fact the isle on which the cypress tree stands had in ages past been a great crossroads of ancient caravan routes in the days before Enoria became a wilderness shunned by civilized men.

It is in these years that the south walls of the city were built and the fishing village of Vollita incorporated. Although not built with the great craft of Mor's original walls or the extraordinary stone discovered beneath the city, the southern walls were nonetheless very strong and more beautiful and ornate than the original walls.

During the Silk Years, a new line of dukes (from the house Kelvin) ruled, aided by a castellan. So prosperous was the city that it again grew beyond its walls and a southeastern section was added. Its great wealth also allowed the duke to pay tribute levied by the various mountain tribes and ransoms to hostile armies; so proficient was the castellan at manipulating the tribes that after a time, the castellans began paying tribes to attack one another and thus prevent any of them accumulating sufficient strength to assail the city.

It was in these early years of the Kelvins that the dwarves abandoned their subterranean dwellings beneath the city and instead built a dwarvish quarter of heavy windowless stone houses. They gave no explanation of their abandonment of their former homes and those gnomes and impoverished humans who sought to take up residence in their abandoned dwellings found that the entrances to the undercity had been sealed.

But the duke and castellan were too cunning for one year, an especially ambitious and cunning barbarian leader spent his tribute on hiring a team of assassins to kill the castellan, the duke and their heirs.

In what is called the Night of Invisible Blades, a group of magic-wielding assassins stole into the palace one night and killed all those inside, save for one person, the grandmother (and former regent) of the duke; she is the second ruling Lady Kelvin since the beginning of the Silk Years.

The Present Day

The Year of Mor 323-

The Cult of Mor
Domains: Earth, War, Protection
Alignment: Neutral Good
Clerics: Knowledge - Architecture & Engineering, Craft - Stonemasonry, Profession - Miner are available as class skills; also Clerics with sufficient intelligence can gain Dwarvish as a bonus language if appropriate.

The Cult of Enoria
Domains: Water, Animal, Trickery
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Clerics: Swim, Craft - Net, Profession - Fisher available as class skills; also Clerics with sufficient intelligence can gain Aquan as a bonus language if appropriate.
 

Conaill

First Post
Fusangite: could you give us a quick recap of what the differences are with the previous version? That's a *lot* of reading...
 

fusangite

First Post
Fusangite: could you give us a quick recap of what the differences are with the previous version? That's a *lot* of reading...

I did everything I promised I would do in my responses to various comments.

I dated the Kelvins back to the year 170.

I made Erekh the leader of the army instead of Mor.

I added the crossroad concept back in.

I added bugbears and hobgoblins to the list of relevant monstrous humanoids.
 
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jdavis

First Post
fusangite said:

It was in this flight that a party of gnomes was rescued by a fleet of perch fishers. Their fear of orcish spears and hobgoblin swords overwhelmed their historic fear of water. During their three weeks on Lake Enoria, they first saw the water silk and conceived of its value.

The Silk Years


The few elves (and half elves) in town control the silkfish ponds. (see Silk Fish Harvester, The Palmora Fish Ponds on the first page of the crafts thread for a example). One of the odd bits that was going on with silk fish pools and slavery was it's the elves and half-elves who control where the most slaves would be and that is also one of the rare areas where there are elves in the city.

Other than that I'm impressed. It is going real well. I'm sure there will be lots of other nits to pick but the basic outline of it is really shaping up.
 

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