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Venezuela-inspired campaign setting for generically dungeoncrawlish RPG

edited 2022-10-13 21:07:10 in Roleplaying
"you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
This is a placeholder post.

I got Storm to consult a bunch of ideas I've had for a while, I'm gonna post them here. The general idea is rather low-fantasy-ish, wizards and mystics in reasonable amounts but no epic powers or magitek. My chief source of inspiration was the history of Latin American wars of independence, though I'm not making a claim to stay 100% true to the roots of the idea; Storm claims not to mind.


  • edited 2022-10-13 20:20:54
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    The city began as little more than a few wintering shacks for the early explorers, thanks to the cove providing a convenient harbor and a good place to launch expeditions upriver. Then, local frog people told them stories of golden cities of the elves in the interior.

    Descendants of enslaved elves still live around the city to this day.

    For a good while, plunder flowed through the city almost like the river did. It is not so today, the elves retreated deep into the jungle but by then the city had been already established itself. No longer a mere port for plunder, it grew enough to sustain its own weight, sprawled from along the seashore towards the hillsides and halted in its growth not even by the earthquake.

    On high, there's the high city. There, where the weather is mild and sickness does not reach, the aristocrats' palaces are located. Chief among them is the Vice-Regent's, although you'll be likelier to met the one back across the sea, in Metropole. There also the cathedral-monastery stands, as splendid as the place demands. Nobles dwelling here rarely if ever leave for lower parts of town. To and from their country estates, they pass on quickly, in fumes of imported scents, windows of their carriages covered tightly. Finally, there are barracks of the regential garrison. If the colonials are to be kept under control, the soldiers must come from Metropole, and if they come from there, they need to be safe from sickness. Soldiers don't leave except on patrols, so as not to bother the high society with their commoner baseness. The Metropole demands that all gunpowder in colonies be kept tightly under watch, and muskets allowed only on exception. The garrison is one of two such places in the city, the other the fort at the cove.

    Down below, there is the middle city. The cathedral-monastery of the high city is but the new edifice; the old and original one is here, and the second lies in ruins. The locals draw much pride from their primacy. Most of them are craftsmen, clerks, writers-for-hire, ones who work skilled trades and not merely by their muscles, a lot better than low city rabble. Here does the sickness strike at times, but most who live here have already suffered it. Monks of the monasteries cater to those who need. Life is not bad in the middle city. And yet, it is not good. People chafe under high city rule. Why, they ask, must they require a permit for something as simple as putting print-blocks to paper? Why does it matter where your ancestors came from, and who they were in Metropole? Why not a master craftsman should be asked how to regulate their craft, or if it should be at all? These questions are passed without answer within middle city salons.

    Between the middle city, rising where the hills gain steepness, and the wharves reaching out into the sea, and deep towards the long-abandoned old ruined city, sprawls though the low city, the city's waste bin and its driving force. People, frog people, half-elves and all manner of mixed folk live all side-by-side on jobs ranging from loading and unloading ships, through hauling goods up and down the hill, to selling their labor to one or another manufacture opening up nearby in hopes of avoiding the doom that befell previous ones, or simply fishing and farming for sustenance wherever a convenient spot could be found. Low city taverns are not a place for the faint of heart, nor for the slow of the knife-draw. For the locals, throwing knives and dancing the machete dance are peaceful ways to pass the time. Those unwary may end on the wrong side of the blade in a dark closed alley, or hauled aboard a ship and forced into piracy. Still, life goes, and when a gunboat arrives from upriver, it is the low city that's first to the spoils.

  • edited 2022-10-13 07:52:26
    I wonder which parts are historical/geographical references and which ones are just a coincidence.
    I kinda want to make ganarte now.
  • edited 2022-10-13 20:10:34
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    I wonder which parts are historical/geographical references and which ones are just a coincidence.
    You have me there, I don't think I can seriously keep you guys in the dark about it:

    (What's ganarte? Anyways, my hunch is it's nothing I should advise against making, so do go ahead.)

    I guess I'm gonna post as far as I have ideas and then let you know what else I'd post if I knew how to pull it off. Or, perhaps, in the meantime you will come up with something cooler.

    (edit reason: typo)


    The city grew, but it also moved, torn from its roots by river and sea and very ground. The old city lies in ruins over the riverbanks as a memory of the city's past, still inhabited, but only barely. Shacks of the poor, easiest to rebuild, litter the riverbanks providing shelter to those who would or could not make their living in the city proper. Some of them are leprous or mad, others criminal or undesired, others yet simply too poor even for low city. This is a dangerous place to sail, for more than one vessel was rushed in the dark from ashore, its crew unable to defend itself against the assailants' knives. Even pirates, though they hold themselves a better sort than this shore-scum, know well to be wary.

    Ruins of buildings on higher ground rarely host long-time residents, but for a thief or a thug, a burglar, a revolutionary or a heretic, even the occasional bandit despite them striking out in the countryside around and never within the city, there are hideouts a-plenty. Meetings happen in secret here when city is not safe, in the dark, for a light could be spotted. Though most was scoured clean, scavengers still wander in search of any remaining wealth forgotten or lost when the old city was abandoned.

    High up on the hillsides, there are ruined palaces of the better folk, much as they stand today in the high city. This is the only part of the old city that the new still holds claim to, as the nobles do often not wish to part with their estates, even in ruin. Liveried men armed with swords and spears and even muskets stand guard over the estates. Crumbled walls are repaired. And yet, for many it is easier to come here than be brazen enough to steal in the high city itself. Wealth here is lesser, but there it still is, for many of the estates were opulent enough that their owners would rather not bother moving it whole. Instead, it remains here, to no use but employment of guards and enjoyment of thieves.
  • What's ganarte?
    It's what my autocorrects come up with when I write "fanart".
  • edited 2022-10-24 07:21:47
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Ooh! I'm all sold then. (I mean, I was also sold when I thought "ganarte" was something else, so anyway.)

    I'm thinking on how to work in your ideas into my notes. So far so big changes, gonna type all I have come up with and we'll see.

    I don't have my notes at hand, so this will be half-improvised:


    The river is the chief way inland. Granted, all who have a horse can ride out into the plains, but there's few roads there, and not good for hauling goods in their bulk that can not move on their own. Thus, the river. Plantations dot the banks, where the land is good and forces under the Vice-Regent near, much as they do along the sea coast itself. They form societies of their own, each reaching out only for craftsmanship that it does not produce on the spot. Slaves toil in the fields, be it sugar, or mushrooms, or rubber, or indigo. Time has passed since the last slave-hauler to arrive with replacements for the dead, but the living's lot is little better for it. Shipments of goods leave for the city every now and then, to be carried back to Metropole. Masters of the estates live lavish lives off the trade, whether or not they stay there.

    Small towns lie on the river a day or two of sailing apart from each other, serving as marketplaces and supplies of skilled labor to the plantations. The locals vary, some of them a mix as diverse as the low city, others the remainder of a long-past military garrison or an elven village that cast its lot with the invaders, but altogether they are much similar to each other. In between, there are villages of the native frog people, groups of stilt houses standing on water where its depth is low, with flooded rooms and storages below. Rarely hostile, they live by themselves or hire themselves out to the townsfolk. Though they pay their homages of fish and river produce when time comes, many are there who see it wise to still remember their darts and their poisons.

    Further upstream, the jungle grows thick. Towns and plantations trickle down to almost none, save perhaps for those driven by folly more than sense, and only the bass twangs of stringed instruments of frogs roll over the waters. Frog people do still live out there indeed, for this land used to be theirs, but even their villages grow scarce, and reliant on older ways which those living downriver do not openly follow. Be it even a heavy river gunboat, laden with armor, its flame-cannons at the ready, a ship no longer means safety. In the water, there dwell creatures that even these measures not always keep at bay, for alligators, and constrictor snakes, and the fish too sometimes strike at a ship itself. On the banks, jaguars and snakes and creatures not yet named await a chance to snatch prey. And yet, the jungle receded once, before fire and a greed beyond its dangers.

    The river is not mapped in full. Who knows what lies at its source.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    The basis for this idea I halfway got from some musings on Reddit.


    The elves once lived in cities of gold, glimmers of light in the jungle from which they ventured forth, to exchange goods with frog people and other inhabitants of this land, and to gather tribute. Elven kings covered themselves in golden dust in elaborate rituals which they designed perhaps less to honor their gods than to demostrate their own kingship. Nobles wore intricate cloaks, woven from feathers which the craftsmen had plucked from jungle birds without doing them harm. Trees around the cities twisted into shapes of their devising to complement the angles of stone- and goldwork. Animals living nearby behaved like humble guests awed by their presence.

    Once they learned of them from the frogs, first encounters with the explorers were peaceful. But this would not last, for too many had been blinded by the luster of gold. The elves tried to talk, tried to buy them off, and finally, tried to fight. Elven warriors donned jaguar-man forms, followed into combat by their parrot minions. Clubs of stone and blades of sharp glass were drawn. Bows were strung with weaves of fiber and magic. One by one, they fell against iron and fire and smoke.

    Soon, many cities lay in ruins, gold plates torn off and the rest left for the forest overgrowth. Its people were driven in bounds towards the coast. Trees no longer minded the buildings, animals no longer made their nests outside. Some still visit them, in search of any wealth overlooked by frenzies of plunder, or wisdom generations late.

    The elves retreated, though, not surrendered themselves. Deeper yet in the jungle and upon mesas unreachable by walk, cities still might stand. Rumors abound of an occasional glimpse of gold far between the trees, of unusual stalking jaguars whose eyes seemed to tellers of the tales oddly to follow them. The elves knew to contain damage, they had to contain themselves. Some even visit the colonials, sometimes not pretending to come from a conquered village nearby, never revealing where they really came from.
  • edited 2022-12-06 22:30:23
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Now, this might be the part which is most specifically Venezuelan and least generically Latin American. Like I said, what I got were inspirations, but there's this one guy I know, on whom I'm counting when it comes to make it Venezuelan enough...


    The plains spread to the south and east of the colonial capital. It is a vast region of tropical grassland, though mostly unsuited for grand plantations of the kind which covers the waterfront, and therefore long overlooked. Few roads cross it, and travel to the interior is done more often by river. Early explorers found them passable in dry season, as long as horses were readied and water prepared, but uninteresting, for there was little of note there save for the roaming native centaur tribes. In wet season, they often found the plains covered in water high enough that no place was left to set up a camp, and so they shunned them. Those who came after them were not interested, for there was little gold to plunder in the plains.

    However, at some point cattle was let loose on the plains, and it took well to its new home. Overlooked by those in search for riches, they developed a wealth of their own. Cattle lives in vast herds there, halfway feral, and often hunted rather than butchered at pens. Though there are towns, they are smaller than those on the rivers, local fulcrums of trade in meat and skins which had grown around the herds. Villages dot the land where the land is favourable and conditions good, and great landowners see more profit in peonage than in meat. Elsewhere, it is open plains.

    A hardy people developed to match the land, as well. Many of them are, by law, slaves. Most of them do not care. They live on horseback, mingling with the centaurs of the plains as if they, too, were part-horse themselves; in turn, many of the centaurs have also taken to pastoral life, so much that in some places there's only a slimmest difference between a centaur and a rider. In their manors, great landowners claim to own the land they ride upon, send out survey teams to produce maps and erect mounds to mark boundaries of their domains. For now, folk of the plains responds to their demands. Time will tell how soon will they realize landowners would respond to theirs.

    Of all regions of the colony, the plains may well be where the magic flows free-est; if not, surely it does most overtly. It is said that there are many witches amongst the plainsfolk. A woman keeping many candles may just need them for lighting, but beware one who seemingly has more. Men of the plains do not always stay faithful, but the women know many curses for this and any other occasion. But they also know how to ward against the immaterial, for they are not the only vengeful creatures that roam the plains.

    Of the rough riders of the plains, those for whom to not answer to anyone is not yet enough, many take to brigandry. They gather in warbands, roam in search of wealthy travellers and shipments of goods lacking in guard, strike at outlying villages where they may force the locals into ransoms or simply rob with impunity, local militias stretched thin or too weak to stop them. There are parts of the colony where a punitive operation by Vice-Regent's forces is long overdue. But for some, even this may not be enough, as amongst the brigands there are those who seem at supernatural ease, spoken of in fear as not mere men. Rumours abound. Tales are told of brigand bands who strike only in the deep of night, in dark which no fires can dispel, of raiders who are unbested in arms and impervious to bullets, whose heads reveal horns when their hats are torn off, whose terrifying visages are glimpsed for a mere moment for what they truly are rather than man-faces they appear. The Vice-Regency dismisses these tales, as it does most calls for help. The Assembly is more concerned, though it is people's beliefs which often matter to them more. But out on the plains, they are still told, and in these tales these are called the Hell Riders.


    I have some notes left, so that should be a few posts more before I run out of stuff to write. Tried to work in some of the ideas Storm gave me, not really succeeded at it. I take it as my fault. But, sooner or later I'm gonna try to procure some sort of 1d10 encounters, and some of that should end up there.
  • edited 2022-10-24 12:57:55
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Okay, Storm's reminds me I'm falling behind the schedule, so time for a new post. There was a bit about the jungle in my previous posts, but a jungle is such an environment that it deserves some write-up of its own. Though this time it's a bit generic and the ideas I have about it are derived from other parts of South America too. I guess it's more of a Brazil and some bits of a Peru.


    The jungle spreads to the south of the plains, and to the west. Though the river crosses the plains too, for them it is not the only way inland as it is known for other regions. But even so, the jungle rises around the river like a canyon of green, and travellers only travel easy between one and the other bank. All those who wish to enter the green must either sneak in or fight against it.

    On every edge of the jungle, there are lumber camps, for trees themselves are wealth. Tropical wood is shipped back to Metropole, where cabinet-makers prize it highly. Cheaper varieties, those not deemed worthy of attention by highborn customers of the master crafters, provide construction materials for people of the colonies; the nobles of the colonies benefit from wood trade, but wood they live with they import back from Metropole. On the land so carved from the jungle, be it suitable, plantations flourish. Sometimes, especially near the river, where the travel is easy, the wood is merely a side gain, else the plantations are. Every now and then, though, one falters for want of fertile soil, or fertile soul. Often it is only the lord of the manor who returns to the city, his failure a ground for good-natured jest in the high city. The middle city sometimes asks for the left behind, in angry letters that struggle to see print and editorials from the underground. The low city does not.

    These are those who fight against.

    Those who wish to go further in, must sneak. It brings rewards, too. Those who avoid dangers are first to the riches. Diamonds and golden sand. Rare plants, selling well for medicines of the body and the soul. Wild rubber, drawn from the trees unplanted by men, farmed like wild honey by woodsmen inured to danger. Sometimes, what had remained of the expeditions of the past, from items demanded by noble descendants of the conquering parties, wishing to claim ancestors' fame for themselves, to items which are not yet ruined by the jungle and may still sell for a good price. And finally, there are the manhunters, the slavecatchers, the inquisitors, the magistrates, the trackers. They enter the woods in search of others, whoever they might have been and for what reason they had been there first.

    The dangers are many. The first of them, and the foremost for all the newly arrived, is sickness. The coast had found a way to live with it; in the jungle, it thrives in many forms. The second, the animals, from the swarming bees, and the spiders, and insects which carry venoms and poisons, and against which the trespassers must maintain watch, to those which do not merely threat, but actively predate. The jaguars, and crocodiles, and snakes, and others yet which eye the sneaking-in for as much wealth as they are looking for. Third danger comes from the sirens of the woods; some lure men deep into the forest, from which they never return, others guard their lakes, filled ever more with riches of those lured into its depths who have instead come to plunder from those who had tried before, and forest spirits guard their groves and trees against those who did not know well to placate them. The last of the dangers is the people, and the frog people, and the elves, who do not wish others to tread in their domain. For those, too, claim the jungle.

    These may be those to sneak in, but there is, indeed, a reason beyond wealth.

    For some, the jungle offers wealth, but for others refuge. The elves knew it first, as do those of the frogs who chose to remain. Some of the descentants of those who were conquered chose to reclaim it, too. Soon others have learned it as well. It is said the elves keep distance from all others to come after them, but who can know the truth of these sayings; for many of thus escaped are half-elves themselves, and they may yet find back their way into elfdom. Deep in the jungle, there are villages, where former slaves craft vows not to allow themselves to be captured again. Knives are sharpened and poisons distilled. Drums beat. By moonlight, sacred concoctions are brewed by secret recipes to bring forth the wisdom of visions, and spirits, which the outsiders take much care to guard against, here are called forth to help keep watch. Heretics looking to escape religious authorities, criminals in hiding from secular ones, failed and would-be revolutionaries wishing to avoid either also brave the dangers, sometimes carving out of the jungle little villages of their own, building up bases of support, others or at other times simply learning to live in the woods alone. And it also happens that some of them, rather than merely hide, stay in constant contact with the outside world, the jungle a cover for raids against the colonial society. Those are either the least brave, or the most daredevil.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Yesss, it felt a big like the mountains deserved a write-up. Sort of like, it's mostly there but I feel I could iron it out later. There are some fun details that could be developed, but which I barely mention here. Consider it an alpha version which may or not be expanded or reworked later.


    The colony is partially separated in two by a mountain range which, going further south beyond the colonial borders, reaches only ever higher. Here, it is not yet as tall, but it provides an obstacle and a boon to transport, in varying ways at the same time. As the elevation rises, the woods grow thinner and trees shorter, until they stop altogether. It is a cold clime, the more so when contrasted with hot humidity below. If a road is run through high meadows, it provides for a convenient route for those willing to pass it, but only in a few places it can be followed smoothly. In some places, rope pulleys and bridges allow for contact over gorges and between peaks. Small shrines to all kind of saints and deities and spirits of the land dot the fog-covered landscape, enough to serve as a guiding measure for travellers.

    People who live here are not as numerous as those in territories to the south, beyond the borders, but are a faithful and honest lot, ready to work hard, some of them native, many other recent arrivals. The former live mostly off animal husbandry, not cattle as upon the plains, but woolen animals, and travel often between the peaks alongside their herds. Of the rest, many hail not from warm Metropole, but other nations, lying further where the weather is harsher and the soils less forgiving, for whom mountains resemble home more than ever would the lowlands. The Vice-regents encourage this, in hope that loyalty the arrivals provide will be unmarred by ties to natives and other colonials. Often, they receive it. 

    There is a wealth to develop for sure, for the mountains hide ores much desired by industry, even when they are not of precious metals. By official policy, cheap land is offered for those who would come and develop it. Indeed, small settlements abound, of which some, where the native people were accommodated, look as a lively eclectic mix of the local and the distant, many as if the viewer was suddenly transported thousands of miles away. More often than not though, and not without quiet approval of officials up to the Vice-Regent himself, these grants of land seem to go to those who are great landowners already, of both the colonies and Metropole. Sometimes it is only then re-sold or lent out, for the settlers to learn of it only after their arrival. But it also happens that a merchant company opts to settle the land up in their own fashion. Towns spring up built according to the plans of company engineers, only then to be settled by hired laborers.

    The newcomers are not all menial labor, though. Mavericks come of curiosity, refugees arrive to leave their old life behind. There are educated people amongst them, doctors to administer to the crowds, experts to study the land. A traveller in remote corners may stumble upon a study of a wizard from a distant land, wishing to find privacy in remoteness and peace to research upon domains which others would prefer left be.

    On the western side, the mountains roll down back into the jungle, lower and swampier than it was to the east. There, though, is a boon less common on higher ground, for the swamps abound in tar pits. But the western regions are their own thing.
  • edited 2022-11-09 21:09:11
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    There's a friendly ribbit ribbing sort of joke hidden in here.


    The coast is shielded by many islands, of which most are too small to be discussed on their own. In some places, they obstruct the way towards the mainland, elsewhere they provide a measure of protection, against both the storms that strike the coast and the sea monsters, to whom open seas appear a preferred environment. These waters are sailed by fishermen, often from native villages plying their trade only slightly changed by the arrival of the colonists; trader ships and treasure fleets carrying away the colonial goods back to Metropole or bringing in luxuries, troops, and basic utilities not produced in the colonies for want of materials or legal permits, often with a local pilot at the helm anyway to best avoid the dangers; and finally, frequented by pirates.

    For the islands at the coast merely herald those further out in the sea. Out there, a multitude of islands large and small rise from the waters. Colonial powers variously claim and fight for them in an eternal struggle for control of trade routes and national prestige alike, and amongst them swarms a multitude of pirates and freebooters, in nominal allegiance to either power or plying the seas independently of any, benefitting from and preying on the trade. They deserve to be spoken of separately.

    Once the mainland is reached, often the first sight will not be the beaches, but the mangroves obstructing the sight and complicating the passages; of inhabited polaces, one may encounter a stilt-mounted settlement of frogs, or a village of natives or colonials, who more likely than not diffuse among each other freely here, or a small colonial town or a minor plantation if the conditions are favorable. Pirates are an enduring threat here, perhaps more than seasonal storms which often do too destroy livelihoods and lives, for neither Vice-Regency nor Metropole does always have warships at hand to spare for patrols. Towns thus exist where they are easily defendable, or hard to reach, or when the wealth of the town has not yet raised the interests of the sea. Plantations, alike, have arisen where the good they produce takes too much bulk space to be a worthwhile plunder, or if their absentee lords can write off the losses as acceptable part of the enterprise. The latter is more common.

    On the other hand however, proximity to the scum of the sea creates an opportunity for smuggling, for export fees are high and restrictions on import many. The authorities fight it, but patrols aren't always frequent. For many though, this is by design, as a good few colonial fortunes have grown out of illegal trade. Woe to them, if a vessel of Metropole catches up and her captain is incorruptible; in any other case, the only trader in smuggled goods who needs to fear is the one who lacks contacts in the high city. Nevertheless, the middle city owes much to smuggling, as do all its alikes, but it imports where the high city exports. It is a rare printing shop, a library, or an industrial enterprise, which does not benefit from contraband wares. Almost all muskets in the colony which are not in high city's hands came from smugglers' holds.

    As a result of these tribulations, there is only one truly large city in the colony, guarded by star-forts to fend off piracy and nested in an estuarial bay where trade ever flows and conditions are safe. But if there was one to rival it, it would be the western city.

    The mountains and jungles divide the colony, but before the land on the other side becomes too distant for the Vice-Regent to maintain control, there is a caldera set between the mountains close and unbroken jungle on the far side where an odd sort of town has arisen. Frogs live there in great numbers. Against threats coming from the open sea, it is shielded by a narrow strait, and a lightning storm which seems to have broken out shortly after the arrival of the first explorers, to the bafflement of scholars of mundane and arcane alike. A traveller to pass by boat through both - for indeed, to arrive at the western city, any route but by boat would be an excess of labor and time - would enter a maze of mangroves opening into a large, lake-like basin, then to see how the stilt-houses of the frogs coalesce into a settlement of a clearly urban nature. This, rightly, is the western city of the colony, in submission to the Vice-Regents, yet aside in many ways. The city itself was founded by settlers, but these early ones had more in common with recent migrations than with the settled folk of the colony, though by now that would be hard to tell. Even frog people here are not like those further east, urban, and boastful, and rash, instead of rural and composed. There is no star-fort to protect the city, and some of these traits have been surmised a result of that, a need to stay on the lookout and a readiness for combat. Perhaps, for these issues are always much debated.

    The city lives off trade, and much of it is a typical trade of plantation wares, and some of the produce of the mines which lie closer to this side of the mountains, but not all, for there is great wealth in the tar, and oil, and pitch. Swamps around the lake abound in tar pits, and the oils secreting from below the ground are drawn out by buckets and by hand-pumps. With so many crafts drawing benefit from it, the demand for rock oil is always high, and the oil flows through the city in open drains, from the pits to the distilleries and to the port itself. The locals often find uses for it that elsewhere would demand for a different kind of oil or fat, and the city is lit with rock oil lamps. For now, the export fees are paid.

    The apartness protects from the wider colonial politics, but a sense of coming change is in the air. Already the tar pits are beginning to see visits from foreign mining experts, ever more frequent, and agents of companies owning the mines uphill are flocking to them. Miners from abroad, or even just from the mining towns of the mountains, are supplanting the locals in the pits, methods ever much distinct to the old way are suggested to improve the production. For now, it is gradual, but a sense remains that the standard operating modes are about to change.
  • edited 2022-11-15 22:46:12
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Storm's telling me there's still a few regions that could be used for gaming inspiration, but so far anything I could come up with was too generic to mention. There's nothing particularly South American about a desert Although in the other case, for comparison, an island town with a prison-fort is always good for a micro-setting.

    So, I've wanted to drop a post on religion, but also not make this religion just a Generic Fantasy Religion With Catholic Trappings. But man, was it hard to write, not because of lack of ideas or inspirations - I had a bit of a picture - but because I could barely find some time to get in the mood to finally write down the post. And as I want to drop in this this one before the rest I have planned, it holds them all back.


    The crown may rule the land through the Vice-Regent and great landowners may hold the titles to it, but they both pay their respect to the Universal Assembly. When first explorers arrived upon soon-to-be colonial shores, they carried with them members of the official structures of the Assembly, and when the city grew, the cathedral was among the first stone buildings to rise.

    Today, the Assembly remains looming over colonial society. Its missions and monasteries guide the daily life of many native settlements and outlying towns, cathedrals dominate the cityscape. Its ecclesiarchs remain an important voice among colonials even when surrounded by their lay siblings and cousins, who just as well know the game of politics and court posts, for even if the hierarchy is settled by money and influence they speak with authority beyond their personal importance.

    The Assembly shares its teachings of enlightenment with other faiths - in fact, it grew out of a tradition of enlightenment which it, indeed, universalized - but the structures it developed are its own. According to the Assembly, self-attempted enlightenment is possible, but highly unlikely, and wont to result in harm to self and others, while contained traditions such as the one which gave it life fail to provide enlightenment to any but a small handful at a time. For all these reasons, it instead demands to submit to a hierarchic collective based on regular meetings which can supply lessons and practices in due time, to a largest possible number of people. This way, it claims, everyone in the Assembly can take their first steps on the path at a safe pace, and those willing to devote themselves fully to it can join one of many monastic communities. This, as well, leads the Assembly to spread over the world, its missions and monasteries footholds after which the rest of the structure follows.

    Needless to say, many contend its claim. Competing traditions continuously arise, most based upon the notion that the ecclesiastical structure that the Assembly maintains is, in fact, unnecessary to achieve enlightenment. Of these, some merely build independent structures of their own, others retain basic structural trappings, and else entirely do away with anything but intimately personal meditation in order to understand the hidden meanings underneath the basic texts and founding principles. Beyond the sea, the Assembly maintains specialized investigators to limit the impact of these deviant teachings. In the colonies, it is still spread too thinly for their efforts to succeed by much, which in turn incites many of these dissidents to come. Even in the capital, they can only keep a tight hold over the high and the middle city.

    Of the other colonial powers, sometimes they stay true to the Assembly as well, and sometimes they do not, standing for one or another of these dissident paths. It still informs the game of politics between powers, even in the colonies, where such issues of importance have, until recently, not normally reached.


    Eh, you know what? Have it. It's not even done in full, but this thread's been too long without an update.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    So, the second part was intended to be about non-Assembly religions.

    Also, since I already brought it up again, the name is ripped off lifted wholesale from a single source. It's pretty obscure, you've probably never heard of it.


    The Universal Assembly, and neither are its alike but different competitors, is not the only religion to be found in the colonies. The high church of the Assembly only holds fast among the well-established in colonial society. The further one is from those reaches, the likelier it is to pay spiritual tributes to others.

    Back in Metropole, faiths and traditions which grew forth independently to the Assembly were largely uprooted or forced into hiding. The Assembly, though it is rarely in direct contradiction, claims a universality that leaves them no place. Some traditions still do carry on there, isolated from general society by choice or by landscape. In the colonies, some of these did arrive along with the colonials, their carriers seeking respite from persecution, a safe haven, or most simply along with no concerns of that kind. As in Metropole though, the practitioners for the mosr part keep to themselves, resigning themselves to their quarters in cities or to small towns or villages where and when the Vice-Regents saw themselves in the mood to grant them a right to self-rule.

    However, of these paths the most common to the colonials are those which are native, whether or not they existed before the conquest, for some arose only after it happened.

    The first of those is the spirit-faith of the elves, if it may be called so, for the elves lived along the spirits of the land and the animals of the wild. In the hidden cities, it can be surmised they still do; in villages of peons it is rarely so, for the conquered have conceded their loss and joined the Assembly, or made a show of joining. The Assembly, though the spirits do not deny it, demands that they are not worshipped, the act of which the elves seem to have never actually done. Among some, the dissidents or in secret in the know, this is held to be a political issue, a result of an unspoken deal between the Assembly and the conquerors which eases control over the subjugated in exchange for spread.

    The frog people are admitted some leeway in their beliefs. Though teachings of the Assembly spread among them to a wide popularity, they often add to it their old ways. Many quietly pay homages to the spirits of the land and waters, and as long as they are not overt with it much, they are not met with reprimand. In the older days, frogs engaged in acts of animal sacrifice, often of their prey caught live with help of their poisons. As one moves further from the centers of Assembly power in the towns, it is likelier that they still do, ensuring pacts with and favour of spiritual and elemental entities that the well-being of their communities much depends on. Many a frog would admit to a belief in doctrines of the Assembly, but only a rare one would as well profess independence from the moods of the supranatural. And in distant villages in the far reaches of the river, where only the bravest explorers and sturdiest gunboat crews reach, the victims of their sacrifices are rumoured to extend to the sentients. On occasion they are asked, the frogs deny these slanders vehemently.

    The slaves brought from afar to work on plantations tend to be a mixed lot. Those who arrived recently often hold on to their beliefs despite the pressures of both the drivers and the Assembly. Old survivors and their descendants may as well, or let the pressures have some measure of an effect. Since they rarely all belong to the same people, even on a single plantation, even the original forms forms of worship are by necessity merging together.

    For most others, the half-elves, peons, natives, and the inhabitants of the low city as well, the ways they follow are often mixed in a fashion that often leaves little to discern where Assembly doctrines end and others begin. The Great Enlightened of the Assembly mingle with pagan deities. Spirits mingle with folk heroes. Devils receive worship on par with great persons of the past. A shrine by the road built in full accordance to Assembly canons might be actually devoted to a locally notorious thug with a reputation for charitable impulses. A leader of the community may receive fruit offerings and incense smoke by his beneficiaries regardless of his overall standing and reputation in society at large. Spirits of the land might be assumed to be manifestation of regionally popular Great Enlightened. Miraculous powers of bird-speech and shapeshifting are attributed to those who in all respects were known as perfectly mundane. As the chief religious authority in the colony, the Assembly, usually unintentionally and in spite of attempts to curb it, provides forms of communal religious life which are often copied by those syncretic traditions. A traveller from the city might venture out into the region expecting to find cathedrals of the Assembly only to encounter a procession of dancing devils.

    Where this tradition came from, nobody is quite sure, for at the beginning it could have arisen from customs of any of the ways the colony has brought together, be it a procession of the Assembly or dances of the natives, or beliefs of the frogs. Regardless of origin, the basic form of the tradition, for variations are many, remains mostly solid: a group of dancers dressed as devils maintain a celebrant procession. Beyond that, details such as membership of the procession, a reason to celebrate, ways to disguise, vary. They may, and this is most commonly delivered explanation, for it grants them a cautious acceptance from the authorities, celebrate a holy day of the Assembly. They may erect a temporary monument of a devil they claim to worship or follow in its footsteps. They may steal or demand gifts from the gathered people. They may be persecuted by authorities, or protected by custom from persecution by authorities who would much wish to persecute them, consist of poor and downtrodden who take it as a rare chance to stand up, or persons of standing themselves who see it as their honor and privilege. They may deliver much-demanded justice under the guise of devils, when the perpetrator of a crime is otherwise protected by legal authorities, by law or by custom. They may be led by a genuine devil whose hellish identity is obscured by a crude mask, making the real to look fake, and a surrounding mass of like-dressed co-dancers.


    damn, it's enough, I've been writing it for too long by much, everything worked to interrupt me
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    ...the Surroundings!


    Beyond the sea lies Metropole. It's an ancient kingdom boasting a long history rich in memorable events of every kind there is, of ups and downs, ignoble treasons and heroic selflessnesses, missed opportunities, golden ages, glorious victories, harrowing defeats. None of that matters in the colonies, save for one thing, for the conquest. Its fortune is now tied to the wealth brought forth from the colonies, and the colonies' own fortunes are tied to it. But they may not forever be so.

    Metropole is not the only kingdom out there. It's surrounded by a slew of others, all different, yet so much like each other. Kings compete against each other for an objective which is never made all clear. Colonies and countries are little more than mere pawns and tokens to be used or bargained for in this undending game of power and prestige. The royal courts, of which those of colonial Vice-Regents are pale simulacrums, swarm with nobles and great commoners vying for positions and basking in royal splendor, competing for favor of their suzerains. Top-ranking officials of the Universal Assembly variably use, help, and squabble with the kings for their own interests, for great powers all nominally follow its teachings, and masses certainly do, yet it could seem differences in doctrine which rile them up are merely an outgrowth of national policies.

    Things may be changing, though. There are rumours, slipping into colonies through royal sailors' infrequent shore leaves and smuggled leaflets. But it would require much more than just a change in discourse for a real change to affect the colonies as well.

    The great powers all have them, for sure. All are maintained as pawns against each other, for matters of prestige and trade, and the latter is why there are trade and import laws imposed upon the colonies, all to the benefit of smugglers and pirates. To the north, the ocean bears many islands variously owned by one or another power, used as plantations and power bases, but the competition is harsh, and conditions cruel, and many slip through the cracks. Entire islands turn into pirate bases only to be conquered by yet another power a mere few years later, sending forth a wave of sea reavers in search of new places to hide or plunder. The plantation and mine owners drive their slaves to death, knowing that under such risks, only in this way they may turn a profit off their investments.

    There is an island which used to be a supplier of saltpeter and sulphur to the entire archipelago, and exported back over the ocean lines for much profit. For some reason, birds from all around the sea came to roost here. The piles they left over centuries on the mountainous coasts was a greater wealth than any cash-crop plantation that could take hold there. Sulphurous springs found in the island's interior invited to set up powder mills yet more, iron seams called for blacksmiths. Soon, though the island lacked a good port, and so all trade had to pass through a small, secluded cove, slaves were worked hard for either. They did so, until they chose no more. Now, the island is written off, spoken of in tones hushed by memory of terrors, and a different flag flies over the cliffs. A black one, with a cannon over crossed chains. Ships steer clear of the island, for there are no warning shots. The island's forts are watchful, its cannons do not want for powder, and its people do not waver for mercy. It is rumoured, though, the locals might stay their hands, if the right offer is given. A pound of powder for each ten slaves set free. A cannon for a governor dead. A crate of pistols for a plantation burned to the ground. Time will see if there is one to give it. The guns of the island reach far. All that needs to be done is to come close enough to be heard.

    Regardless, however, of the importance of ocean trade routes and wealth brought by the island plantations, as one would expect, most of the colonial territory is located on the mainland. There are many colonies, for sure, under the rule of most of the great powers, sometimes in loose contact with each other, but more often separated by natural boundaries. The jungle is vast, and passable virtually but for the rivers, but they follow their own routes. The mountains are high and rugged. The maritime trade, one which could develop in avoidance of such barriers, is held back by laws erected in their stead. In capitals beyond the sea, the kings do not mind that the proceeds of their colonial subjects flow back to the home country, rather than spread amongst their fellows a valley apart. Colonies which pay allegiance to the same kings, speak the same language, are nonetheless not spared these ordinances.

    The colony neighbours some of these other colonies. Although there is a measure of contact in spite of barriers, for at least the legal ones can sometimes be dismissed, the laws still demand that it is routed through Metropole; with the colonies of other powers, of course, they demand no contact is kept at all. There no overland routes, or next to none, and major settlements are far apart even in the best of cases. Trade is sparse between them. They are all unique in their traits and local conditions, but as long as they are driven by plantation and resource economies under their respective Vice-Regencies, by most ways of approaching their situation, they do not differ by much from each other.

    The neighbour to the south, where the land is not as good for plantations, does, however, differ in many enough ways to note. It is mountainous, and dry, and conditions there are no good for growing cash crops, although native farming traditions have proven well productive even past the conquest. There is silver, though, as the gold was in the jungle, but unlike it remained as the gold was picked to the last piece, and silver it was to bring the elves living there woe. They fared no better than their brethren to the north, unprepared for what was to come, incredulous to believe terrible news brought by the runners over, now left in disuse, the single ridge-along road linking these two of their domains. Stones of their fortresses' walls were cast aside, peaktop temples pillaged and broken, no longer to hail the forces of sun and death and lightning, valley recluses torn and left for pig farmers to house their herds where elven kings once dwelt and hosted their courts. Thus, the Vice-Regency of the Mountains rests now upon silver to ship back to Metropole, for little else the conquerors saw once blinded by the luster. Those whose fathers have come from Metropole are rare, and stay on the coast, where a good port city was built for them to enjoy the riches of the land. They are a proud people, perhaps helped with the spirit of the old elven pride, for in their hearts they see themselves as the elven kings' rightful successors, much as they would loath to admit in the open. They, in turn, see the colonials to their north as gauche.

    As they do so, in the pleasant capital on the coast, further back from the sea the silver is mined. There are many of them who toil, natives, elves, half-elves, whether driven from villages to do their part, or choosing so on their own accord on a chance it is better still than what little subsistence is provided for them. They are free, or half-free, peons and serfs rather than slaves, but many slaves fare better. Rockfalls take their lives; mercury takes their health; new laws of the land and missionaries of the Assembly take their old customs. Some make do. Others grumble.

    The Vice-Regents of the Mountains claim all is under their control, or barring that their boot; that there most certainly are no hidden cities high in the mountains, where only elves know how to dwell for long unsuccumbing to thin air, and old mummified lords of ages past were drawn from their tombs to rule in their killed descendants' stead. The locals are not biding their time, as the mountaintop bases gather strength; that none of those who flee settled life go upwards, wishing for their herbal remedies to keep them walking until they reach their aims, or gather in bands to assault remote outposts. Those of purest elven blood do not wish to cleanse the land of the invaders' taint. Surely, there was the occasional rebellion; a normal occurence, and each such time easily put down with hardly a disruption to mining outputs, as far as the Vice-Regents are concerned.

    Such are the surroundings. If anything was to happen in any one of the colonies, the others would be drawn into it, and soon the powers as well. The powers play their own game, though. A change, once forced through, would need a hero to ride it to the end, lest it falls back towards the old track.


    The last sentence is intentionally cheesy because it's supposed to appeal to the player, you know, a player character insert, lol, who am I kidding, it's never gonna be what I would like it to be.
  • edited 2022-11-30 00:01:40
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Who does the land you're on belong to (1d10)?
    1. The Crown (ie. Vice-Regency). On paper, this is the default owner; when it's also the owner in practice, generally expect state-owned mining, fancy public buildings and/or fortresses, or just that the land is rented out to other kinds of landowners, who then may decide to turn a profit off it in ways most suited to them.
    2. A great landowner. Generally these folks have several kinds of land in their portfolios: fancy estate houses, plantations, the kind that is rented out to people like their ancestors did back in the old country for centuries, and the kind that just lies there but they won't let anybody do anything with it.
    3. the Assembly. They actually own a lot of the land in much of the same ways that great landowners do, except fancy estate houses and plantations are generally replaced with fancy temples or some such. Not always, though. Also, more exploitatively-minded missions probably fall under this category.
    4. a merchant consortium. These folks generally buy land with immediate profits and/or development in mind, but sometimes they need a safe hedge or just want to engage in some land speculation on the side.
    5. religious dissidents. For some reason, generally some sort of local tradition and/or temporary feeling of magnanimousness of some past Vice-Regent, they were left be, but are monitored closely by authorities and probably have to contend with whatever is the local equivalent of the Blood Libel every now and then.
    6. foreign settlers recently given a land grant. They are similar to independent free smallholders, but differ in that they enjoy expanded rights and/or protections for some political or economic reasons decided by Vice-Regents or even back in the royal court in Metropole.
    7. actually independent free smallholders. Likely menaced right now by some landowner's goons, whose employer wishes to add this plot of land to his estate.
    8. a native community. Lucky buggers got the royal authorities to accept their rights to this plot of land, and it stuck, mostly out of the force of habit on the side of everyone else. Sometimes, there is a well-intentioned Assembly mission running things with their benefit in mind.
    9. nobody in particular. Technically, all non-claimed land goes by default to the Crown, but sometimes the surveyors don't even get there in time, or the land exists in some odd legal limbo.
    10. that's the fun stuff, roll twice and these two both have a legal claim. On repeats you may roll as long as you get something new, or run along with it and decide the claimants are separate entities within the same category.

    If you wish, you can modify the list: change the roll to a 1d20 or greater and alter the probabilities of different outcomes. The Crown, the Assembly, and the landowners own most of the land anyway.

    This is the first of my intended series of 1d10 of whatever posts.
  • Courtesy link.
    I go a 1! The royalty it is, could've been worse (maybe), I wonder how much adventuring you(r character) gotta do to be able to afford to purchase your own land.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    You just make me realize I haven't put my mind to it, but I'm thinking the big cities might happen to count as crown land. (The smaller towns probably can be anything from the first five, oh, and you may notice I repositioned religious dissidents so that I didn't have to say "first five bar four".)
    I wonder how much adventuring you(r character) gotta do to be able to afford to purchase your own land.
    Depends on the game, but the way I see it in this case, somewhere between "not that much" and "unless you want more than a shack and a vegetable garden". Also, the kinda-sorta-implied-intended-end-game is breaking off from the home country, so if the game master is lenient you play your cards right...

    I'm gonna do a 1d10 things that might happen in [location]. If you have any opinion on what [location] would be fun to go first, go ahead and tell me!
  • Hmmm... I'll go with the jungle.
  • edited 2022-12-04 08:42:27
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Okay then.


    What's been going on in the jungle recently (1d10)?
    1. Apparently, work teams sent into the forest have been disappearing for a while. There's a drunk at the local tavern who claims he saw some forest nymph luring off men with her voice, and he only got away due to his deafness. (He got better.) Or that he knew a guy who saw and got away; he'll try the former version first in hope for a quick buck. Pressed, he may reveal the man's name was Figaro. Or Jigaro. Or something like that. He may even know where to look for him if pressed long enough. But then again, when asked he spins it into a story of love, death, and clockwork automatons, which may cast some doubt on the veracity of his tale.
    2. A mysterious jaguar has been reported to carefully watch workmen in the forest, in an oddly, so to say, "un-animal" manner. The workers are getting spooked and the matter should probably be investigated before it grinds logging to a halt. The jaguar may or may not be an incarnated forest spirit, shapeshifting elven commando, etc. and handling the situation particularly badly is going to result in a lot of blood.
    3. A child has gone missing in direct vicinity of the forest. A search must begin immediately, if there's going to be any chance of finding it alive and well. The rumours alleging that a native community was involved do not make search any easier, even if the truth behind them is merely that the child is just staying with some new friends.
    4. You are in a forest on a mission of some sort, but somehow the forest has kind of looked the same in every direction for a while now. To put it bluntly, you are lost. Perhaps it's just your poor sense of direction and not the forest itself acting against you. Good luck.
    5. A hunting party is gathering. A huge man-eating snake (or some other large animal) is apparently rampaging through the countryside, and it needs to be tracked and fought in its own lair if its predations are to be stopped. It's not going to be easy, to say the least.
    6. A series of bandit raids have struck settlements along the edge of the forest and currently solutions are sought by their sufferers. The bandits are hiding somewhere under the canopy, perhaps even in the canopy. So far, it seems, they are at home in the forest, but perhaps it can be turned against them somehow. Otherwise they need to be apprehended the old-fashioned way, either by tracking them down or by ambushing. Oh, and there just might be a native community or an ornery spirit around that could turn it into a three-way affair.
    7. During an expedition, an assortment of pottery shards and even a few silver and gold trinkets are found, in a place deep in a forest where they didn't really have a reason to be. Unless, there are remains of a lost civilization there. Like, perhaps, some sort of dungeon. Oh, and that might be of some interest to scholars, if you care about that sort of stuff.
    8. A badly-wounded prospector had returned from the forest, dying just before they could divulge the location of the gem hoard, a rare medicinal plant, or some other much-sought stuff that he had found. The general area is, however, known. There already are several groups hastily preparing to claim the prize and the competition is going to be severe.
    9. There's an odd fellow in the nearby town, some sort of scholar or explorer from beyond the sea. He wants to catalogue the plants and animals living in the forest and he's already lost his latest guide to poison, but he's pretty much giddy with the opportunity to study its effect on a living body in real time. He's currently looking for another one, or a whole party of them, to replace the unlucky sod. There will be a lot of loitering around and getting exposed to hostile nature even on the occasion the scholar doesn't secretly "encourage" the encounters. In the name of science, of course.
    10. There's a talking parrot which has been appearing on the edge of the forest lately. It's odd, since they do not usually talk unless trained to, but no person who could've been the bird's owner has been seen recently. The parrot just showed up one day, talking some trite the gist of which seems to be that it wants to be followed. Some say it's a lure of sorts, others speak of old stories attributing parrot familiars to the elves of old. An abandoned elven city is rumoured to be located somewhere nearby, which may be of relevance, though local village elves claim to know nothing of it. Volunteers are sought to investigate the matter.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    At the moment I can't access my notes, but I've been overdue with the next one in a series. The mountains feel like I can mostly write out of memory, at worst I'll consult my notes at later point and correct.


    What's been going on in the mountains recently (1d10)?
    1. There's been a stall in a mine recently. The miners say it's a type of gnome that lives underground and ruins mining operations, one that they know well from their distant homeland. It's not known how it could have made its way to the colony, and they are quite irritable when this is pointed out. The traditional way to placate it involves an animal sacrifice. Unfortunately, the necessary animal doesn't really live in the colonies and nobody knows if it can be substituted. The other ways are to hunt the gnome down or a human sacrifice.
    2. There's been a sudden snowfall, and the mountain route you were travelling through is nigh-impassable. You can risk your way through slips and frostbites, wait somewhere warm and safe, or find another way. The last one is going to be a long and risky detour on its own, and the locals aren't accommodating.
    3. The local mining town is in the midst of a festival. The miners are recent immigrants and their customs are uneasy to the local-born, whether native or colonial. On the other hand, their food and drink are intriguing, and the more inebriated might spill a story or a secret.
    4. The rope link to the other side of the ridge is broken. Fixing it would require somebody to descend and climb back up on the other side. Oh, and it just might be happening to an unlucky traveller in the midst of a crossing right as you arrive. The traveller will turn out to be a foreign-born doctor, if that matters.
    5. There is a strike at a mining town. The guard force hired by the owner of the land is not trying to break it up by force yet, but if somebody got the miners to work, they would be all too happy regardless of means used to achieve that. The miners wouldn't mind somebody to push through their demands, either.
    6. A herd of animals is blocking the narrow path trailing the top of the mountain ridge. It will be a while before they pass. The shepherd, a resourceful native, is willing to sell an animal on the side if it can be believably said to have fallen off a cliff.
    7. A shrine standing by the wayside is dedicated to no deity or force you or the locals recognize, and nobody is quite sure who put it up there. The locals are superstitiously avoiding it, in case they draw attention whatever is is dedicated to. Half a day after you pass there's a hailstorm and the shrine is washed away. This is variously understood a reason to re-erect the shrine before whatever-it-is gets angry, an omen (possibly that whatever-it-is got angry), or as your fault.
    8. A road lost in fog turns out to lead towards a wizard's tower. The wizard is definitely unhappy that somebody got through the mist without permission. Or is long dead and the tower is up for the taking. The mist is definitely going to stay for the way back, though.
    9. A work team led by an ambitious engineer is constructing an avant-garde design of a bridge over a ravine. The engineer, whose dream project the bridge is, had to look abroad to find interest in it only to find it in the colonies. The construction has already demolished a few shrines and the local workers are getting restless, the bridge looks too avant-garde for its own good and the laws of nature as well, yet for some reason the authorities are adamant he is to continue.
    10. A team of prospectors is searching for the shallow end of a seam which, according to their calculaions, should be somewhere nearby. Word has got out they're prospecting for gold and they are currently drawing unhealthy interest of the local ne'er-do-wells. What's worse, some of their higher-end equipment just broke and they can't really replace it in the middle of nowhere.


    Something like this; I have a feeling it could be better. I can still add any ideas to come.
  • edited 2022-12-09 14:59:09
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    What's been going on on the plains recently (1d10)?
    1. A few moments ago it was just a heavy rainfall, but now it's a flash flood! Get to the high ground as soon as you can, and don't let anyone stay in that dry riverbed you were driving in! The cart is pretty much lost at this point.
    2. A man who was locally infamous for his womanizing ways has been found dead, his blood sucked out of the body through the navel. Clearly, this is the work of a vengeful spirit going after seducers and drunkards. The spirit is said to be invisible on all but the hottest days, but also to announce its presence with a long, characteristic whistle. The logical thing is to hunt it down, but the locals act as if the man's death didn't bother them.
    3. A quarrel between townsfolk and plainsfolk, probably related to prices of trade goods, erupted into an open battle. Perhaps it can be interrupted before bodies hit the ground. Or just used as a distraction.
    4. The sky suddenly darkens, much faster than it should regardless of the time of the year. Before anyone could comment on it, it's dark already, and all that's left there is the sound of hoofbeats. Hell Riders!
    5. A stampede! Run before the cattle tramples you! (One wonders who or what startled them, and whether it was an accident...)
    6. A woman who lives in a hut out in the wilderness is reputed to be a witch. As it happens, there's been a string of unexplained deaths in the village nearby which seem to be a result of a supernatural curse, and the local Assembly figure stands firmly on transcendental meditation as a way to strengthen one's spirit against such attacks. (For some reason the deaths so far happened only to the unenlightened.) A witch might just be the one to consult with, unless she's the one who cast the curse. Also, she's ornery and hard to work with, and might just have a legitimate grudge against the villagers.
    7. A team of surveyors working for a distant landowner is getting encircled by a group of centaurs. Their weary explanation is that they are just doing their job, which happens to involve drawing out boundaries of their employer's land. The claim is, of course, backed by seemingly iron-clad legal grant signed by one of the past Vice-Regents. The locals don't like it one bit.
    8. A smoke on the horizon turns out to come from burned-out remains of a small town. Whoever struck it, it was clearly more than the average bandit raid, and if it was a punitive expedition, as rumour is beginning to say, then what was the purpose of it?
    9. There's a man-eating animal out in the country, attacking people out in the open at night. Recently it seems to have become bolder, striking closer to settlements than before. It should be identified and hunted down before it claims too many lives.
    10. A local woman was murdered. The culprit is widely considered to be a man who had recently been loudly accusing her of having cursed him with all manner of embarrassing afflictions, and who fled out into the country shortly after the murder, although some say they heard him claiming innocence before that happened.
  • edited 2022-12-09 15:44:24
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    What's been going on down the river recently (1d10)?
    1. A crew of hostile frog people has amassed on the riverbanks and in the river itself, brandishing weapons and eyeing the passing boats suspiciously. Negotiations may be in order, to know what aroused their ire and whether they try to prevent passage.
    2. A giant crocodile has taken to dwell in this specific section of the river. It's not immediately hostile, but it needs to eat, is big enough to chew through a smaller boat, and its hide is nigh-impervious to bullets.
    3. The locals and frogs report odd river lights over the surface of the water shortly after sundown. They seem to move and don't appear harmful, but may warrant investigation.
    4. A freak storm! Just a while ago the river was peaceful, and now it's hard to avoid crashing against the riverbanks, let alone maintain course. All hands aboard!
    5. There's a capsized shipwreck in the water. It wasn't there the last time, so it warrants investigation, whether for loot or for survivors.
    6. A corrupt and cruel gunboat captain demands a bribe from every other ship, even beyond standard bribery rules of the colonies. The crew is well-armed, but not particularly devoted to their leader.
    7. A troop of piranhas has been spotted at this segment of the river. Better keep to the ship... if only that wouldn't prevent you from getting to that glistening thing lying half-buried at the bottom you can see through the muddy water.
    8. At the riverbank, there is a plantation wharf, from the looks of it rubber. It's filled with goods, as if awaiting a boat, but there's nobody there. There's an odd smell in the air, seemingly coming from where the manor house would be.
    9. Logs floating in water make this particular segment of the river difficult to sail through. An unwary hand at the helm may even end up sinking their ship. The logs are of an expensive exotic wood and further upriver is a logging camp.
    10. A sad-looking ghostly form has been seen over the river. At this point it is not clear if it's a dead person, a local spirit, or anything else. It seems to appear only to selected few people, most of whom are not directly involved in moving goods over the river, and its desires haven't yet been deciphered.


    I had in my notes several different iterations of a hostile animal, but two should be enough.
  • edited 2022-12-09 16:07:17
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    What's been going on at the coast recently (1d10)?
    1. The stack of smoke turns out to come from a burning plantation. It appears a slave revolt is in progress.
    2. The town is attacked by pirates! Man the ramparts before they're in and perhaps you'll fend off the assault!
    3. A navy patrol roams just off the coast. No landing party is in sight and it appears they are waiting for something.
    4. A smuggling deal is being struck in a small cove near a town. Goods are off-loaded from a boat, but the ship is out in the sea, ready to bolt off at the first sight of authorities.
    5. The odd bunch of nervous people who claim to be a work team from the local plantation, are actually runaway slaves off to follow spider threads, the slang term for runaway slave routes to the island of cannons and broken chains. They expected to find a boat at the beach and there is none in sight nearby.
    6. A party of soldiers suddenly barge into a tavern to bust a smuggling deal. The smugglers, under a guise of honest fishing crew, have been talking with a servant of the town governor who secretly sympathizes with enlightened reformists from the city.
    7. A sound of three cannon blasts is actually a call for help from a sinking ship, which had just run aground near the coast. To make matters more curious, it's a big, fully-manned ship of one of the powers whose relations with Metropole are currently strained, and the visit of which certainly wasn't expected here.
    8. There's an earthquake! The ground is violently shaking and even the sea is suddenly rough. Better not stay inside, let alone in some underground cave or dungeon which on a safer day might have been a place to look for treasure in.
    9. A fishing boat off the coast seems to be in a big trouble, if one is to judge by all these tentacles trying to drag it underneath the waves.
    10. Soldiers who serve as prison guards in one of the dismal off-coast prison forts are on a shore leave in the town. Having been virtually imprisoned themselves for so long, there's all sorts of revelry they wish to get into before duty calls them back.
  • edited 2022-12-10 22:30:54
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    What's been going on in the western city recently (1d10)?
    1. The lightning storm seems to be fizzling out recently. Nobody is quite sure what's going on, but everyone's getting concerned and a call for natural and supernatural authorities has been issued, to study the matter.
    2. An explorer who recently came back from the western jungle claims to have discovered a workable passage to the far-off colony on the other side of the jungle. If the claim is true, the virtually isolated city might find just itself tied more closely to it than to the colony it is nominally part of.
    3. A broken pipe results in an oil spill on a busy street. Although it's an opportunity for anyone who might've just been trying to get away from authorities, would-be theft victims, or angry husbands, it's also a fire hazard and a real mess to clean up.
    4. In a tavern, a local frog brags about the supposed superiority of western frogs over those from the main colony. Unfortunately, at this very moment the tavern happens to host a mostly-frog crew of a sailing vessel who take offense to it. Frog-on-frog and generally everybody-on-everybody fight is imminent.
    5. A local firebrand preaches that the city should set itself up as a capital of a separate colony, arising an enthusiastic response from the gathered crowd. There's no mention of full independence, but it's potentially subversive anyway, and on the other hand full independentists see the espoused ideas a threat to their cause.
    6. A bunch of dirty, tarred pitch-miners are causing a ruckus demanding higher wages and a brush to scrub off after work. It's not quite a strike, but it's at least as annoying to the townsfolk.
    7. A foreign warship arrives, but doesn't seem to wish to attack. Nobody could be seen on the deck. Is this a ruse in a war of the start of which nobody had yet informed the locals, a diseased vessel to be quarantined, or something else?
    8. A new machine to extract the pitch is installed at one of the tar pits, an awkward contraption of pipes and revolving parts imported from abroad for a significant amount of money. The fears of the workers that it will relieve them of work are only matched by the hopes of the investors.
    9. Odd smell was felt over the bay recently, accompanied by bubbles of gas in the water and occasional oil slicks where they usually don't happen. Perhaps it is something like a formation of a new tar pit, but some of the local scholars are concerned. The city is located in a caldera, likely formed by an underground explosion and subsequent collapse in the ages past, and there also are local legends of entire villages found dead, as if all people and animals were choked to death at the same time.
    10. A pirate ship is menacing outlying villages, though so far the reavers are not bold enough to go for the city. The ship is equipped with a most odd device: steel blades affixed to the masts and yardarms, all linked by steel wires the lower ends of which float in the water. Judging by the frequency of their attacks, the pirates clearly do not fear the thunderstorm, which is both a concern and an opportunity.
  • edited 2022-12-20 11:41:01
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    What's been going on in this small town recently (1d10)?
    1. There's a religious festival. Anybody who is anybody takes place in a procession, the closer to front and more conspicuously humble, the better. The effigies aren't all orthodox, but who cares. There is a market, too, to the delight of children and the occasional enjoyer of odd trinkets.
    2. A local printer's workshop and bookshop seems to be completely nonchalant about clearly heterodox opinions expressed in books it offers for sale. Somehow nobody asks if there's such a need for a printing house in a small town like this.
    3. It's populated entirely by elves, who have long cast aside their old customs and assimilated to the conquerors' culture with a sort of a neophyte's zeal. They speak, dress, and behave like the best of their econo-social class in the colonies.
    4. The local militia is particularly well-armed, well-practiced and versed in rhetoric which becomes obviously seditious once you pay the slightest bit of attention to it. Either somebody's been grooming them for some role yet to come, or they're about to do something real soon.
    5. There is a performance by the dancing devils right now.
    6. The richest person in the town is a frog, a successful merchant running a minor trading house. The others' attitude is a contradictory mix of superiority and deference, sometimes over the course of a single conversation.
    7. A deadly epidemic rages in the town! There are warning posts and the place is cordoned off by soldiers to prevent the spread, until it dies down... or dies off, to be honest. Which is too bad if you just have to get in for some reason. Even worse if you have to get out.
    8. This town is little more than a supply camp for river gunboats. There are lots of soldiers on the streets, the buildings are either shoddy and ramshackle or fortified, and the whole place is under military rule at all times. The biggest independent businesses probably involve supplying the soldiers with their base vices of choice.
    9. This town grew around a single industry, such as a brewery or organized cloth dye processing. The big building looms over the small houses. The local chapel looks like a small sad fish that strayed into a pond too big for it.
    10. This town is past its prime, formerly booming, now just trudging on out of habit. Cows graze out in the streets and it's really little more than a village now, but it keeps to its rights as a town fiercely. It's in conflict with the local landowner, but the townsfolk carefully keep around a bill of founding signed by king's own hand, and so far it had trumped any legal attempts to revoke their status.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    What's been going on in the high city recently (1d10)?
    1. A son of an aristocrat recently returned from Metropole, where he was sent to study and meet important people. There's a 50% chance he's become a useless fop instead. There's a further 50% chance that this is merely an act to hide his nightly masked fighting against injustice and his dumb deaf-mute servant is neither dumb nor deaf.
    2. A bankrupt aristocrat loiters around the manors of other aristocrats, who host him out of courtesy and as a show of their own wealth. He still wants to get back his chief investment, a plantation which was ruined by a slave uprising and repossessed by a merchant house he loaned money from.
    3. A big banquet is announced to mark the Vice-Regent's departure on an official visit to Metropole. To many, this is possibly the last opportunity to attach one's ne'er-do-well child to Vice-Regent's party, catch some connections, slip in a petition, or engage in any other intrigue of such kind, for others a fancy party is a reason in itself to show up. Lots of important people in one place. Obviously, only the important people are invited.
    4. A regiment of soldiers from Metropole is on the way to replace the exhausted and decimated last one. The soldiers pass quickly on the way to their barracks, still antsy about being sent to the colonies and mindful of tropical diseases common in colonial lowlands. Any action against, or in cooperation with, soldiers of the garrison should probably occur before they are replaced, unless it's the blank slate that serves best your plan.
    5. A few odd fellows are on the street, seemingly out of place. They certainly don't look like they belong here. They claim to be servants to one of the households, but seem to be eyeing entry points on the back side of a noble mansion studiously.
    6. A religious procession passes through the streets towards the cathedral-monastery. Lots of ostentatiously humble garments (picture a simple white robe made of finest silk and lavishly embroidered with pure gold thread) and ostentatiously opulent devotional items and icons. Anybody who is anybody is out on the street in their special occasion wear, and the social order is meticulously reflected by the place one takes in the procession. Sermon kind of slides over the relation of wealth to enlightenment.
    7. A group of liberal nobles are throwing a banquet, promising a lot of speeches about the common good, nature of government, reformist sentiments and the like. Others of their standing consider it a sort of an eccentric hobby, but hey, a banquet is a banquet.
    8. There's a wedding between two noble families. "Lavish" doesn't even begin to describe it. The cathedral is packed with people and so will be the ballroom. Soldiers on the street, both personal retainers and garrison troops, keep any lowborn chaff away unless they can document they are here to serve.
    9. New administration from Metropole have arrived, perhaps even a new Vice-Regent. The new arrivals come from old and established Metropolitan families with impeachable pedigrees; they know it and know that all of the colonials will defer to them. All of them pride themselves on not even having ever been to the colonies before and come bearing new plans and policies they have carefully devised poring over maps and books back in the capital, so that the colonies may ever better serve the interests of Metropole. The colonial aristocracy must build their connections from scratch and they grumble, but what they can do. Because they can't do anything, now, can they?
    10. A young noble mourns the death of his wife, who he brought in back from Metropole but died of a tropical disease not long after, cutting short the dream of settling down as the cream of colonial society. In an excess of distress, he announces an intent to drop everything and go back over the ocean. One wonders what he might channel his grief into, once he gets there.

    Note to self: the high city should probably be renamed the upper city. Or do you guys think it doesn't sound better?
  • *shrug* They feel the same to me.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    Well then I guess I have some more ideas to stuff this little project with.
  • There is love everywhere, I already know
    the high city should probably be renamed the upper city. Or do you guys think it doesn't sound better?

    Upper city sounds more hipster and so I'm voting for that one.
  • "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"
    Thanks for the response, now the same for middle city. Except I can't come up with a decent replacement. Once I'm done with the low city I might just drop 1d10 shocking news to come from the Old World, because at this point I'm not yet sure if though probably preceded by the ruined old city, and then... uh. I guess that'd be the time for character classes? I dunno. (I mean, I said I intend it to be a D&D derivative, so, classes are expected, but there are D&D derivatives out there which don't. I guess I'll copy the preferences of folks I'm ripping off inspired by.)


    What's been going on in the middle city recently (1d10)?
    1. Soldiers on the street and the overall ruckus around a printer's shop mean it was busted for dispersing seditious literature.
    2. Gentlemen in a tavern are striking out a new business deal. Both find it irritating that weird rules established centuries ago in Metropole hamper free flow of industry.
    3. A group of lawyers and journalists are drafting a petition to deliver to the Vice-Regent. With some hope they won't be dispersed by soldiers before they even get there.
    4. A young noble from the upper city walks the streets to meet his less-than-limpieza de sangre lover. He tries to be inconspicuous so hard it's obvious to everyone who he is. He is being followed by a servant of his father who's there to keep him safe and family reputation unharmed. Unacknowledged illegitimate children aren't a harm, as long as that status doesn't change.
    5. A would-be intrepid industrialist is about to convince a group of local moneylenders to fund the envisioned factory. Plans are already in place and the location in the low city is being prepared.
    6. A preacher of the Assembly is harassed by a bunch of louts, who upon closer inspection prove actually respectable members of a society after a few drinks and riding on a self-sustaining wave of modernist anticlericalism. On one hand, they're brazen enough to do it in the open, on the other, disrespect towards official structures of the Universal Assembly is still a criminal offense by laws of Metropole.
    7. In a tavern, in hushed voices, two conspicuously inconspicuous fellows, one of them still smelling of sea, are discussing something. Those in the know, know a deal over smuggled goods is being struck.
    8. There's an epidemic! Somebody let in something from the low city and now the quarter is quarantined, at least in directions worthy of official attention. Gates to the upper city are all closed and guarded. Doctors and hospitallers have their hands full, although amongst their own, they complain about each other's methods.
    9. A recent arrival from abroad, a master of a craft, is arguing loudly with a magistrate over recently opened shop. Turns out some obscure rule was not fulfilled and the shop is ordered shut.
    10. An apothecary with a scientific worldview is making a decent business brewing new medicines and drugs out of many of the colony's hitherto-undescribed plants.
  • edited 2022-12-23 17:52:32
    "you duck spawn, refined creature, you try to be cynical, yokel, but all that comes out of it is that you're a dunce!!!!! you duck plug!"

    By one Arturo Michelena, on some sort of legal license I would have to research if I want to use it. Would probably want to use it. Could be a decent first page.

    (Wikipedia link here.)
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