Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Things I Know About The Middle Sea World - Part 4

The map of the Middle Sea world
continues to grow. At the bottom
of this post, there is a copy of a
map of the campaign starting area.
In the lands of the sorcerer-kings, it is illegal for any magician not specially licensed (and monitored) by the sorcerer-kings to know spells of 3rd level or above. There are special police called "Inquisitors" who look for evidence of such knowledge and capture or kill such violators of the public trust. Regardless of their actual abilities, elves are generally regarded with distrust due to their association with magic. Matters may be treated differently in particular city-states, but this is the general situation.

Continual Light spells are not actually of permanent duration in the Middle Sea world, but instead last for 10 hours per level of the caster.

The Davrai nomadic people of the grasslands beyond the mountains herd horses and cattle. Their warriors spend most of their lives on horseback, or in the case of their elite Bullrider warrior society on bull-back or even aurochs-back. The majority of their people walk, including the minotaurs (which they call "davramanai") who live and work among them. Polytheists with an interest in many local spirits, they especially revere the great Sky Bull, who leads the world-herd, and his holy heifers, the Bright Cows of the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth.

In the northern parts of the grasslands, where winters grow bitter cold, live the centaur herds. There are eight tribes of centaurs, which call themselves Uighiz, Kaijit, Tagatai, Kamrat, Burkit, Dakka, Hartak, Kiyut, and Mughur. They herd sheep, which along with grass is their primary food source, and some cattle. They wear long woolen tunics and fur-trimmed hats. They organize themselves into patrilineal clans called "obok", which include as members the servants and slaves of the blood family that leads the obok. There is a web of vassalage which leads up through the noyat "princes" (singular noyan), who lead the obok, to the great Khan himself, lord of the plains. For shelter, they set up large wool-felt tents called yurts.

Centaur warriors organize themselves into decimal units. The arban ("ten") consists of ten centaur warriors, obviously, the jegun ("hundred") is ten arban (100 centaurs), the mingan ("thousand") ten jegun (1000 centaurs), and the tuman ("ten thousand" or "horde") consists of ten mingan (10,000 centaur warriors). The commander of an arban is called a beki arban ("leader of ten"), of a jegun is called a beki jegun, of a mingan is known as a noyan mingan ("prince of a thousand"), and of a great tuman is called simply a noyan ("prince", as noted above, and drawn exclusively from that stratum of society). The Khan has a special tuman called the keshik, which acts as an elite force and bodyguard of the khan. Each of the eight tribes, additionally, has a tuman, so that there are about nine tumans of warriors among the centaurs, two of which are under the direct control of the Khan. Their primary weapons are the short composite bow and the scimitar, and about 25% of a force will additionally carry small shields (for AC4) and medium lances. Only about 5% of the force are armed with firearms (usually calivers) instead of bows, and none of those carry shields.

I think that there are some rare, expensive airships, but I am not yet sure if they are lighter than air because of helium or because of magic. I'm leaning toward the latter, with propulsion via either turncrank-driven aerial screws or aerial sail arrangements.

The city-states of the sorcerer-kings are known as the Seven Cities. The largest is Hexspire, with a population of nearly 50,000. The second largest is Payn, around 40,000 people strong, which is the location of the original sorcerer-king and gives the people their name of Paynim. The smallest of the Seven Cities is Morda, a city of approximately 8500 citizens, which is ruled by a magic-user who specializes in necromancy. He has created a large workforce of zombies to aid his citizens, and plans to one day become a lich so that he can continue to provide for his people. In addition to the Seven Cities, there are more than sixty smaller towns ruled by lesser sorcerers. The rulers of the cities are all at least 14th level magic-users (the greatest being the archmage who rules in Payn), while the lords in charge of the towns range from 10th to 14th level.

The only population center that can be called a city in the Wild Coast is Libertana, with a population of around 9500 people. In addition, there are seven smaller towns, ranging from Port Tigwa (pop. 6500) to the smallest, Jomaca, with a population of around 1100 citizens. All of these towns and Libertana are scattered along the seacoast. There are around 675 villages in addition, many housing fishing communities (who frequently provide a haven for pirates in hiding) along the coast, but the majority are in the interior of the peninsula.

There are three faerie courts, two near the Kurai and one said to lie in the frozen wastes of the far northern reaches of the world. The two courts nearby are the Seelie and Unseelie (which are words that mean "peaceful" and "unpeaceful" respectively), while the one in the north is simply known as the Northern Elves. The three elven Kings are all said to be generous to those they favor, but merciless to those who transgress their laws. The Seelie King is Oberion. The Unseelie King is Finvarra. The King of the Northern Elves is Niklaas, often called Old Nick. Each has a Queen (Titania, Oona, and Marta, respectively) and a Knight who acts as a second-in-command.
The campaign starting area, from the pirate city of
Libertana on an island in the northwestern corner to the
sorcerer-king city-state of Marja in the east. The players will
start in Hexspire, just 15 miles or so away from
Stonehell Dungeon.


  1. I have been working on a campaign setting for some 20+ years, using a modified GW (1e) map of post-apoc America, and I highly approve of your setting. One of my first (brief) campaigns there was set in the same general region your map corresponds to.

    I would love to have access to the maps you have used to set up your campaign, if you wouldn't mind sharing.

    1. Do you mean the ones I've been including or the source upon which I based them? If the latter, then I use the Sea-level Rise tool on SCALGO Live Global. It requires a lot of cleaning up to make these maps. I would estimate that, so far, I have spent on the order of 30-40 hours cleaning up and collating the maps into the one at the top of this blog entry, probably mostly because I am a lousy graphic designer. ;)

    2. That is an awesome tool, thanks for sharing the link.

    3. No problem! I was really happy to find it, since the similar tools that I could find previously were not quite useful to me (mostly, they were overlays on Google Maps, which was fine, but very difficult to clean up in the way that I can the SCALGO maps).