Historical Cimmeria

I write a lot of stuff about my D&D campaign world which I’ve dubbed Cimmeria. I’ve plopped the Greek Pantheon of gods into Cimmeria to use. Its easy for my players and me to remember which god is which and there’s a deep reservoir of myths to aid storytelling. Most of you probably already know these things from reading my blog. What you might not’ve known is that Cimmeria was a place attested to in The Histories of Herodotus and a few other early histories. Whether that makes the place “real” or not is probably up to how trustworthy you consider those sources. Regardless, there is some historical justification for why the geographical region of my D&D campaign world is called Cimmeria.

The historical Cimmerians are described in the Assyrian archives from about 700-600BCE. They engaged in a number of border skirmishes with the Assyrians and other ethnic groups around the northern coast of the Black Sea. After 600BCE they disappear from the historical record. It is likely that after a particularly harsh defeat by the Assyrians that the Cimmerians were assimilated into one of the other cultures in the area. As they sought protection from that stronger group they ceased to be a distinct people.

I’d like to incorporate the historical events into my campaign world. The dates are a little uncertain with different historians using different dates. I’ve decided to use the estimates provided in The Landmark Herodotus. The rough events are detailed below. I’ll need to incorporate them into the story, but that will have to wait until after I’m done with The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali and have gotten a decent way into the Time of Prosperity period. Basically, I want to finish everything else in my campaign world up to 600BCE and then wedge in the historical events however they fit. Probably as the early history of the Xorian Kingdom.

So here are the historical events for Cimmeria with the dates I’ve decided to plop on them.

714BCE: Suicide of Rusas I of Urartu, after defeat by both the Assyrians and Cimmerians.

705BCE: Sargon II of Assyria died on an expedition against the Cimmerians.

695BCE: Cimmerians destroyed Phrygia. Death of king Midas.

679BCE: Cimmerians invaded under King Teushpa. Assyrians led by Esarhaddon defeated Cimmeria and incorporated a Cimmeria unit into army.

676-674BCE: Cimmerians invaded and destroyed Phrygia, and reached Paphlagonia.

669BCE: Attacked Lydia.

660BCE: Teushpa died, but his son Lygdamis was even more aggressive. Gyges asked for Assyrian aid.

657BCE: Gyges defeated Cimmeria.

651BCE: Cimmeria civil war. Tomb along Don River.

644BCE: Cimmerians pressured out by Amazons, captured Sardis and killed Gyges.

640BCE: Failed attack on Assyrian turkey and death of Cimmeria King Lygdamis. Succeeded by King Sandakhshatra.

626BCE: Lydian Alyattes defeated Cimmerians.

The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 3

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Kruk-Ma-Kali got to the Shacklack School for Psions and joined the diverse student body. He was exposed to all the major races of Cimmeria and more. Humans, orcs, dwarves, elves, and halflings, as well as thri-keen, half-giants, dromites, githyanki, githzerai, and harssafs. Few of the students shared a common language, but they were able to communicate through the purest form of mental telepathy, sending thoughts and concepts out while receiving those same messages from others. Kruk-Ma-Kali became immersed in this simple telepathy. During his time at the school he even picked up a working knowledge of the underlying languages of the other students. By the time he left he could speak at least a dozen tongues with passable proficiency.

Kruk-Ma-Kali tasted all the disciplines of psionic magic. His experience with psychokinesis for pure energy conjuration, clairsentience for scrying, and metacreativity for conjuring physical matter. While the usefulness of those disciplines was clear, Kruk-Ma-Kali sought a measure of direct control over himself and others. The budding psion experimented with psychometabolism to make himself stronger and psychoportation to make himself faster. Unfortunately the powerful techniques that he desired were too difficult to perform. Frustrated with his failures, Kruk-Ma-Kali turned to the sole study of his natural talent, telepathy. Kruk-Ma-Kali perfected his inborn abilities and slowly rose to the status of journeyman within the Shacklack School for Psions.

As Kruk-Ma-Kali’s control over his psionic mind grew he found himself longing for more than just magical knowledge. He left the Shacklack School for Psions after six years and returned to his mother and his village. His reunion was short. A platoon and an officer of the hobgoblin king, Lork-Bran-Dron, came to the village looking for conscripts a month after Kruk-Ma-Kali returned. Every hobgoblin between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five was drafted by the officer. Kona-Ranor begged Kruk-Ma-Kali to twist the officer’s mind and escape, but her son refused. Kruk-Ma-Kali was enthralled by the prospect of the army. He would finally have a place in hobgoblin society and a chance to prove his worth outside of his community. Kruk-Ma-Kali left with the others to join the army.

Next: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 4

The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 2

Previous: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 1

Kruk-Ma-Kali was born never knowing who his father was. His impoverished mother, Kona-Ranor, claimed that his sire was Pallas, the Titan of war and the husband of the River Styx. Pallas despaired of his punishment in Tartarus. His rage built for centuries until he freed his bonds and escaped. He blew past the minor demons of Tartarus and swam through his wife’s waters to freedom. Once on the surface world he engaged in sins of gluttony, lust, and debauchery. One of Pallas’s nights of freedom was spent with Kona-Ranor. At the height of their copulation she uttered the name of Zeus who looked down from the heavens at the mention of his name. Zeus saw Pallas and flung him back into Tartarus, but Kruk-Ma-Kali was already conceived. Pallas’s betrayal of the River Styx with Kona-Ranor ensured he would never escape again.

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The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 1

Kruk-Ma-Kali is the main antagonist of Kenzer and Co’s adventure module, The Lost Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali. It is a classic tomb raiding adventure. The adventurers must figure out the location of the tomb in a valley filled with native tribes, hidden clues, and red herrings. Once they find the tomb they have to evade monsters and traps to secure the fabled treasure of the dead hobgoblin king, Kruk-Ma-Kali. At the end of the tomb they of course find Kruk-Ma-Kali’s ghost who attempts to possess one of the PCs to restart his goal of world conquest.

I ran this module for my players during my Xorian Wars campaign (the events surrounding the Second Alliance War). They worked through the module slowly, occasionally taking breaks to focus on other events in the campaign world. Eventually they completed it and secured the prize at the end, Kruk-Ma-Kali’s megalomaniac ghost imprisoned within his black sword, Kharad-khor. The sword ended up leaving the campaign as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Hades as Kruk-Ma-Kali had evaded death for far too long.

The Lost Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali was originally written for the Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign setting. Putting the module into my campaign world necessitated adapting Kruk-Ma-Kali’s place in the history of Kingdoms of Kalamar to work with Cimmeria’s history. In the Kingdoms of Kalamar Kruk-Ma-Kali fills a role similar to the real-life Alexander the Great. He conquered a large swath of territory in a decade of war-filled rule. He died unexpectedly and his generals fought amongst themselves as his infant empire tore itself apart.

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