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 general, 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.

The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 2

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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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Cimmerian Timeline Part 36

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821BCE: The Gish Trio let the Githyanki and Blue Dragons wear themselves down against each other. Tracy and Tereman worked on a banishment spell to throw the Lich-queen back to the Astral Plane. Galandir and Blendegad forged new magical equipment using the metal of the Githyanki’s silver swords.

820BCE: Blendegad noticed a peculiar resonant quality to the silver sword material. He began work on a panoply of armor, shield, and sword that would enhance each other when worn together.

819BCE: Tracy and the Gish Trio’s work was complete. They had the best gear they could manufacture and a spell guaranteed to throw the Lich-queen out of the Material Plane permanently. The heroes waited for the best time to strike. Fortunately, the Second Dragon War gave them plenty of opportunities. The Lich-queen was weakened after a battle with the Blue Dragons and the Gish Trio chose that time to strike. Their plan proved successful, but not without cost. Tereman banished the Lich-queen to the Astral Plane, but Tracy’s soul was ripped from her body and consumed during the fight rendering her eternally dead.
The Second Dragon War continued after the Lich-queen’s banishment, but without her direct presence. The Gish Trio fought on without Tracy, eliminating powerful Githyanki wherever they could.

818BCE: Blendegad’s guilt over the death of Tracy drove him to alter the shield of the combined panoply he’d made with Galandir and Tereman. With Shratalanda’s notes and his gathered knowledge of the Githyanki, Blendegad changed the nature of the resonant power of the panoply. Now when all three were worn together they would transform the bearer into an immortal being. Blendegad completed his work and donned the gear and he changed into a new breed of immortal, a vampire.
Blendegad noticed the drawbacks of his new nature quickly and hid the effects from Galandir and Tereman. He drank from the Githyanki they killed when his allies’ backs were turned.

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Cimmerian Timeline Part 35

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826BCE: Bavastatner’s escaped demon experiments became a problem for the Githyanki controlled communities. Bavastatner continued his work, actually pleased that he was inadvertently harming his supposed allies.
The Gish Trio traveled to the Shacklack School for Psions that Shratalanda established prior to her slumber. The masters of the school tested the Gish Trio’s mind, body, and soul and the heroes passed. They were given access to Shratalanda’s notes on the nature of immortality and oaths. They returned to Shalerton with the information.

825BCE: Bavastatner’s accelerated breeding program yielded a result, a new draconic variety known as the abyssal drakes. Bavastatner hoped to sacrifice hundreds of them in a necromantic ritual to capture the soul of the Styx. He began the necessary work to create these hundreds.

823BCE: Bavastatner’s experiments with the abyssal drakes were pointless and would not tie his soul to the Styx. He released the hundreds of stored drakes from captivity in the Shacklack Desert. The savage dragons ravaged Eastern Cimmeria and greatly frustrated the Lich-queen in the process.
Tracy saw her chance to strike at the alliance. Using her contacts in Greshendale she sold a copy of Shratalanda’s notes to Blue Dragon Cultists. The information on how to entwine two souls made its way to Bavastatner. If the physical threads were retrieved from the Temple of the Fates on Crete, then the mixing of fates was as simple as rebraiding a string.

822BCE: Bavastatner sent his cultists to Crete to steal the threads for his immortal life and that of the River Styx. With the strings in hand he connected them and bound his soul to the River of Erebos. This act freed Bavastatner from his oaths on the Styx. He recalled his offspring to the Shacklack Desert to prepare for war against the Githyanki, their previous allies. The furious Lich-queen came to the Material Plane herself to lead the assault against the Blue Dragons. All the resources and manpower of her interdimensional empire came bearing down on the Shacklack Desert. Bavastatner’s children defended their home alongside their patriarch’s demon experiments. The Second Dragon War had begun.

Next: Cimmerian Timeline Part 36

Cimmerian Timeline Part 34

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The next couple Timeline posts will focus on the lives of Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad.

831BCE: The Lich-queen of the Githyanki sent scouts into the Material Plane to gather information. They kidnapped people across Cimmeria for torture and interrogation. The people of Shalerton hired mercenaries to mount a rescue attempt. The Gish Trio of Blendegad, Galandir, and Tereman proved successful. The Gish Trio began researching the magical items that Githyanki left behind.

830BC: The Githyanki attacked Shalerton again using an astral airship. The Gish Trio defended the town using the advanced magical equipment they had designed using reclaimed Githyanki reagents.
The Githyanki made contact with the Blue Dragon Cult in the Shacklack Desert and assisted in the hunt for the Blue Dragon Orb. They slaughtered the Harssaf people and closed in on the Orb’s location.

829BCE: The Lich-queen sent an adlishar to secure the Blue Dragon Orb. Her representative claimed the Orb, but had to flee form the enchanted Bavastatner. The adlishar escaped and broke into Tentineh’s library to discover the secret of the Orb’s destruction. With the knowledge in hand the adlishar destroyed the Orb, freeing Bavastatner and Renvesharhialisv. The Lich-queen and Bavastatner swore a pact of mutual aid upon the River Styx.
The breaking of the Blue Orb of Dragonkind also released Tracy the Hero of the Dragon War. She reappeared alongside those best able to help her, the Gish Trio. Tracy cheerfully introduced herself to the Gish Trio and the four agreed to a partnership in their mutual goals of ending the threat of the Githyanki and the blue dragons. Tracy called upon her old connections in Crafterton and Nomingburg to prepare for the coming war.

827BCE: The Githyanki struck everywhere in Cimmeria at once. Their blue dragon mounts and allies made them an unstoppable force. They targeted the strongest individuals of Cimmeria first, neutralizing them and then bringing their unconscious bodies to the Astral Plane. The Lich-queen consumed the souls of the captured to bring herself closer to godhood. These deaths rocked the political landscape of Cimmeria as many of the most powerful people of the land were also the administrative leaders of Cimmeria’s varied governments.
The Githyanki occupied the city-states of Cimmeria and began exporting their riches to the Astral Plane. The Gish Trio and Tracy predicted the invasion and prepared defenses for Shalerton, Crafterton, and Nomingburg. The Githyanki were successfully repelled from those locations.
Bavastatner began summoning demons to discover a way to bind his soul to the River Styx and escape his oath to the Lich-queen.

Next: Cimmerian Timeline Part 35

Cimmerian Timeline Part 33

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This post will cover the lives of the Restnor family.

882BCE: Humans freed from the dragon’s tyranny began to settle around Valor’s Forest.

880BCE: The Human settlements around Valor’s Forest suffered a number of monster attacks. They petitioned the Elves of Valor’s Forest for assistance. Rather than directly protecting the settlements, the Elves offered to train one hundred Humans to be monster-hunting rangers. Restnor the First was one of the Humans who volunteered for this training.

879BCE: Restnor the First fathered a child with an Elvish woman, Tialafosnor. Rather than raise the child in Valor’s Forest, Tialafosnor elected to travel with Restnor on his monster-hunting treks. While Restnor the First was trained to be a ranger, the boy, Restnor the Second, was born a ranger.

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Next Steps for Cimmeria

It’s been a month since my last Cimmeria post, so what have I been up to? Besides starting a new job as a COVID-19 test runner, I’ve been doing work on the website’s pages instead of on posts.

The First Vampire of Cimmeria story is concluded. It’s one of the first D&D stories I’ve told that I feel could actually be turned into a novel if I felt like writing it. I might come back to that later.

With the story done the next step in my creative process seems obvious, turn it into Timeline posts and update the Timeline. I’ve about hit everything I wanted to for the Early Kingdoms time period. The period will end with the invasion of the Hobgoblin King Kruk-ma-kali.

But there’s a lot of stuff I feel like I’ve neglected when focusing on Timeline and story posts. Specifically, updating the Characters of Cimmeria pages. The posts are fine, but difficult to navigate so as I create new content I try to collect that information in permanent pages on the site. Doing a short audit revealed many characters I’ve written about that don’t have pages yet. Gotta fix that!

During that audit I also discovered that Restnor’s story was never placed in the Cimmerian Timeline. I’d written about him before I’d concluded the Dragon War story, but I knew the events of his life wouldn’t take place until after the war. At the time I just didn’t set the dates, but with the Early Kingdoms period almost finished… Now is the time!

So I have done quite a bit of work on the site lately, but just nothing that’s immediately visible. If you’d like to glance at the most recent writing examples you can check them out at the links below.
The First Orc Chief
Eathirilu
Kenderax
Shaelin
The Lich-queen
Sadroston

The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 8

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Well armed, the Gish Trio and Tracy waited for the right time to strike. Tracy’s network of informants watched for when the Lich-queen was weakest. Their chance came after a battle between the Githyanki and the blue dragons. The Lich-queen personally took part in the battle, expending a portion of her magical energy to secure victory. Tracy learned of the Githyanki leader’s anemic state. The Halfling hero and the Gish Trio immediately began their planned assault on the Lich-queen’s fortress outside Phoenix.

Even with her strength depleted the Lich-queen was a formidable foe surrounded by dozens of guards. Galandir and Blendegad occupied the guards while Tracy and Tereman confronted the Lich-queen with their banishment spell. The ancient Githyanki matriarch fought without reservation, but in the end her will was denied. Tracy and Tereman banished her back to the Astral Plane. Their victory came at a cost though. As the Lich-queen departed she ripped Tracy’s soul from her body and consumed it. The Lich-queen would never return to Earth, but neither would Tracy.

The Gish Trio mourned Tracy’s death, but would not let her sacrifice be in vain. They rooted out every powerful Githyanki in Cimmeria, forcing them to retreat to the Astral Plane or die. As they worked the Trio gathered more silver swords and alchemical components to further enhance their weapons and armor.

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