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Level Up (A5E) Sins of the Scorpion Age, Sword and Sorcery Campaign Setting

GuyBoy

Adventurer
Yianthe sipped at the sour wine in what passed as a tavern in this cold, damp, shrouded city. She and her friends certainly stood out from the drearily dressed locals. Arkos and Xyges, the powerfully built Myron hoplite twins, Versaar, his scaled skin hidden beneath his hood as the sorcerer had long-learned not to draw attention, and Falgrok....well, there was no way the massive minotaur could not draw attention here, or anywhere.
Yianthe smiled to herself. She thought briefly of playing a song, anything to liven up this dour place, but returned her attention to the old man who sat opposite, his face grim. Ersek was his name. He was Zirgi through and through.
“ Leave now whilst you can, and do not enter the forests,” the old man warned, his voice hushed, “ there are...things...terrible things. This place is cursed. This land. Even the Ancais did not stay when they conquered it; even they feared these forests. Do not go in.”

Before either of the twins said anything foolish, or even boorish, Yianthe smiled at old Ersek, “ I thank you for your words, my friend, and we will be wary, but enter we must. Mylekek the Scorpion fled through this town, and we must find him for what he has done.”
 

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Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
Yianthe sipped at the sour wine in what passed as a tavern in this cold, damp, shrouded city. She and her friends certainly stood out from the drearily dressed locals. Arkos and Xyges, the powerfully built Myron hoplite twins, Versaar, his scaled skin hidden beneath his hood as the sorcerer had long-learned not to draw attention, and Falgrok....well, there was no way the massive minotaur could not draw attention here, or anywhere.
Yianthe smiled to herself. She thought briefly of playing a song, anything to liven up this dour place, but returned her attention to the old man who sat opposite, his face grim. Ersek was his name. He was Zirgi through and through.
“ Leave now whilst you can, and do not enter the forests,” the old man warned, his voice hushed, “ there are...things...terrible things. This place is cursed. This land. Even the Ancais did not stay when they conquered it; even they feared these forests. Do not go in.”

Before either of the twins said anything foolish, or even boorish, Yianthe smiled at old Ersek, “ I thank you for your words, my friend, and we will be wary, but enter we must. Mylekek the Scorpion fled through this town, and we must find him for what he has done.”
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
Fasnova.png

Figure I've gotta put Underdark Access -somewhere- so people can play with nifty concepts like Goat-headed "Cave Minotaurs" and the like.
 


Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
As a head's up: Expect little writing in the next several days. Brother is going to be moving out and everything is kind of focused in on that.
 

GuyBoy

Adventurer
I’ll be in the gloomwoods of Neasc, my back to a glyph-cared standing stone, blade in hand, as the shadow of the fell beast looms over me, bloody saliva dripping from hungry maw.....awaiting the next instalment..
Hope your brother’s move goes well!
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
So... My brother is, officially and finally, out. It took a-while- to get him to leave and it was a lot of stress and frustration for all of us... There's a big story, there, but I'm tired of telling it and here wouldn't be the right place, anyhow. Suffice it to say this is better for everyone involved. Hubby and I have spent the last week trying to make the house "Ours", again, and I'm going to be cleaning the guest bedroom off and on for the forseeable future.

But it's time to get back to writing.

So. One of the main conceits of the Project Chronicle setting is that cities and civilizations are largely havens of vice, corruption, and wickedness, where good and noble people get turned into miserable and terrible people. Where Sorcery is occasionally sourced by powerful priests and kings, where criminals gain power and exercise it on the innocent.

But I've positioned Imba, the Unconquered, as somewhat antithetical to that. A civilization that is actually at it's heart pretty much good because of the familial tribal structure that it focuses on. Mainly because I wanted to present the fact that civilization isn't the -real- problem, but rather how people treat and perceive each other, typically as strangers and outgroups, that creates the strife and degeneration of cities in a Sword and Sorcery setting.

But now I'm staring down Kyalo on Lake Kono, Market at the Edge of Forever, with Witches and Pokenkwo Nectar and Bottled Dreams... I'm looking at it's Kleptocratic ruler, Ado, whose corrupt guards make up new rules and laws whenever they will to pluck bloodstones from whomever they feel like they can bully, and I'm worried I'm steering too hard in the other direction. The giant centipede "Riding Serpents" are great, though.

I'm worried whether I'm creating a racist allegory, here, or if I'm just making the "Worst" of the four cities of the Shrinking Savannah and both Oromi and Tefari will be more balanced...

Thoughts?
 

GuyBoy

Adventurer
Welcome back and I hope all works out well for all members of your family.
The nastiness in Kyalo is down to kleptocracy rather than any racist allegory, even more so if the other cities show more balance.
The nature of evil is a pretty intense debate, and I won’t dip too far into it here, but kleptocracy certainly ticks several boxes of “evil”, without needs for blasphemous rites in crumbling temples.
One possible solution would be inserting one or more Robin Hood type figures in Kyalo, who seek to redistribute wealth to benefit those in need. This also creates a neat urban adventure hook.
 



GuyBoy

Adventurer
Sadek realised his mistake too late.
He had been so busy scanning the slime-coated, foetid waters of the Stopwater Swamp; scanning for the telltale ripples of the scorpiondiles that hunted these channels, scanning for the burial platforms that might house a bog mummy, and he had neglected the lianas and vines that draped the canopy above his head.
As the piranha-spiders dropped into his canoe, one landing on his sweat-beaded neck and biting immediately, Sadek heard again the old man’s words of advice, “nobody gets to make a second mistake in those meres.”
 


Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
"Sins of the Scorpion Age" could be a fun title...

I know, I know... Blank of the Blank is a basic AF title for pretty much anything... But it's mostly how our language works with particles!
 

GuyBoy

Adventurer
Works for me. The language structure is good to sell, I think, especially the “of the Scorpion Age” bit.
Just a point to ponder; is “Sins” the best starting word? Maybe an active and collective noun, referencing the potential player characters ( and possibly homaging one of the Tor Conan series?).
Marauders of the Scorpion Age?
Warriors of the Scorpion Age?
Wanderers of the Scorpion Age?

Your call. I will be supporting regardless of title.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter
I used Sins because Transgressions are pretty narratively important to the world, rather than to the characters themselves.

That said, hubby and I had thought of Conquerors, Legends, and Chroniclers as potential titles. The latter would be a bit too "Pathfinder" for me, though.

Wanderers, though... Wanderers of the Scorpion Age... WotSA...
 

GuyBoy

Adventurer
WotSA resonates well for marketing the product, as well as hinting around travelling the fascinating cultures and places of your world.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Supporter

Of Traitors and Thieves​

Atorkhan's blade flashed swiftly, in a silver arc as moonlight, the curved dagger's edge hissed sibillantly as it traced the line of the traitor's throat from ear to ear. Unable to cry out, the man crumpled to the ground, clutching at the wound as crimson blood, more precious than any gem and spent more freely, pooled beneath his unbelieving eyes. The Bandit King stepped swiftly away from the dying man, along the cavern wall, staying clear of the firelight when possible.

In the near distance another of the betrayers turned, too late to see Atorkhan's silks slipping around a carved stalagmite, etched with ancient words of power. Instead he beheld his comrade in arms upon his knees, gurgling his final breaths. Where his friend could make no sound, the second traitor screamed so shrilly and so loudly, that it echoed through the ancient vault of the cave.

One scream lead to barked orders, shouts of light, of torches. More and more of the traitors, seventeen in all, now, lit flame to stinking pitch for the chance to see what horror struck in darkness. But these men were no fools. No, they had been well trained by Atorkhan, himself. Soon enough their eyes faced in every direction, with no man out of sight of at least one other. And together they stumbled through the cave. Some walking as crabs, others like ghosts. Forward and Sideways and Backward all.

Onward they stumbled through the tunnels they had once called home, away from the sibilant death that awaited them on Atorkhan's blades. One of which hissed through the air past their number, glinting in torchlight for a moment only, leaving a blazing trail burned into vision like a passing comet or falling star. None looked to where it went in the shadows, but many eyes turned toward the darkness whence it came.

Stillness. Darkness. The torches waved overhead, pressed back the encroaching darkness, one they had held such comfort in, many a time. Darkness which now held only deepest fear of reprisal. Between them, these seventeen held the last of the stolen wealth of Atorkhan. And as he lay, dying, he had spit forth a curse that none of the betrayers would escape his wrath.

A wrath which stretched beyond death. A wrath that chased them through darkened tunnels and twisting paths. But the seventeen who survived knew they were near to the exit, knew every foostep and stone from years of service to the Bandit King.

Sixteen, now. As those who turned to look back at their peers saw Alhamar was now missing. No body. No scream. No sounds of struggle, of flailing arms, only gone. There was no word spoken on realizing this. Only a brief shared look of confusion in which realization dawned.

After that moment, Sixteen men fled at speed, stumbling and crashing into one another in their flight toward the exit. For if numbers and vigilance cannot stop Atorkhan's Wrath, only speed might evade it.

Fifteen. Fourteen. Twelve.

Again and again the wrath of Atorkhan made itself known, tearing into what numbers fled it. Into the traitors and murderers who would kill the lord of thieves, their own friend and mentor, whom some had called 'Father of my Heart if not my Blood'. To whom so many had sworn so many oaths.

Three. And then one. One, alone, burst upon the sands at the cave's mouth, stolen treasure heavy burden upon his back, scimitar in hand. The wrath would follow... in time.
 



GuyBoy

Adventurer
I'm starting to hear that from other authors, now, and thinking maybe I have to.
I think you have created something really special here that would speak to a lot of gamers. It’s all that is good about S&S, with none of the bad, in a vibrant, culturally interesting world, with an engaging history, mythology, geography, and so many great characters. The opportunities for campaigns are endless.
As and when you kickstart, I’ll sign up immediately on maximum pledge. I believe in you.
 

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