Yuggnod

Yuggnod is walled port town at the mouth of the Pearl River. The town is home to a dwindling population of 20,000 Goblins and less than 1,000 Hobgoblins. The townsfolk have been leaving by the dozens due to the town’s leadership. Yuggnod is ruled by a cabal of ten barghests. Each barghest demands a sentient being to eat once a month. These sacrifices come from outside the city if possible, but if no outsider is available the barghests choose from among the town’s residents. The overt risk of being a citizen of Yuggnod has led to a mass exodus as the people flee their oppressive overlords.

The city took a hard hit eighteen years ago when the barghests seized control. After defeating the town’s leadership and strongest defenders, the barghests went on a cannibalistic rampage in the artisan quarter of Yuggnod. The neighborhood was devastated by the attack. Worse, the unholy destruction caused the victims to rise again as monstrous undead, jealous of the living that still drew breath. The barghests ordered the artisan’s quarter walled up. The neighborhood is now known as the Locked Quarter. Crossing the wall is a death sentence. Undead still occasionally slip through the barrier to kill a few people before the town guard kills the beast.

The elimination of the artisan’s quarter ruined Yuggnod’s cultural scene. Almost all of the town’s annual festivals and holidays relied on artisans to be successful. The only holiday to survive the barghest attack was the New Year’s celebration in honor of the Fish. The town comes together and honors the fisherman and oyster farmers that provide food for the city. In a grim twist of fate, the barghests ordered new holidays to commemorate themselves. One for each barghest and a final eleventh holiday to mark the day of their ascension, the same day that the residents annual mourn the massacre of the artisan’s quarter. The citizens are forced to enact these celebrations. Any refusal may attract the appetite of the barghests.

Yuggnod’s main production industry is clam farming, but their main source of income is trade. The town is a conduit for goods flowing between India and not only the Hobgoblin Lands, but all of Cimmeria. Despite the barghests’ occupation, trade continues. Commodities come from Cimmeria along the trade route of Jipangu, Tomak’nax, and then Yuggnod as they go in reverse from India. Yuggnod’s own exports are meager, but include clams, fish, leather and cheese from their cattle, as well as wheat and beer.

Tusathapas

Tusathapas is a large city of 120,000 Goblins and 20,000 Hobgoblins. The city is situated around the junction of the Long River, the Gold River, and the Red River. The joining of the three rivers creates a nexus point that strengthens magic spells cast above the confluence. The people of Tusathapas take advantage of this to create magical goods to trade with the rest of the world and also to enhance their local breeding projects for plants and animals. The city’s love for magic extends even into their government where the leader is the most powerful magician decided by a biennial contest.

Every two years Tusathpas holds a tournament open to all Goblinoids with magical power. The winner is crowned Grand Magus and ruler of Tusathapas for the next two years. The tournament rounds are one on one contests held on the nexus point of the three rivers. Two barges are anchored ten feet apart in the water, one for each of the duelists. The victor must knock their opponent into the water or render them unable to continue using only magic spells. If a winner is not declared within five minutes, then neither contestant advances to the next round. The current Grand Magus, by virtue of their previous performance, is seeded into the top eight of the tournament.

The reigning Grand Magus is Bluckie the Goblin. She has maintained her rule over the last dozen years using abjuration and conjuration spells. She wards herself against the magic of her foes and then counterattacks using summoned monsters. Bluckie has used her position to further her research on potion miscibility. She hopes to discover a combination potion brewed from the nexus waters that when drunk will permanently improve her spellcasting power.

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Niloctus

Niloctus is home to 35,000 Goblins and 5,000 Hobgoblins on the eastern edge of the Hobgoblin Lands. The city has an ancient tradition of independence, being founded before recorded history and remaining unconquered for all that time. Prior to the Goblin War, Niloctus was the only large settlement in the region now known as the Hobgoblin Lands. As refugees streamed in from the wars the people of Niloctus became insular and protectionist, looking down on the Goblins who had fled rather than die for their lands and their gods.

Religion was important to the Goblinoids of Niloctus and it remains important now. They worship all the old gods of the Goblin Pantheon. To assist their worship, living avatars of each god are cared for within the city. A breeding population of each animal is kept so that the city will never lose one of their gods. This menagerie of animals is dubbed the Sacred Zoo. The citizens and visitors to the city are permitted to walk the grounds and interact with the different animals as appropriate. Sites are set up at each exhibit for offerings to the gods. The Sacred Zoo uses these offerings to fund the upkeep of the animals.

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Tomak’nax

The twin cities of Tomak’nax lie on the shores of Lake Astacol, one bordering the northern shore of the Long River and the other on the southern shore of the Pearl River. Before the Goblin War Tomak’nax was a single city straddling the Long Pearl River. During a fierce battle between Poseidon and Crayfish the earth and the river were split in two. The Long Pearl River fractured into the Long River in the north and the Pearl River in the south. As the rivers became divided, so too did the city of Tomak’nax. Now two rivers and an eight mile stretch of soggy land separates the two halves of the city.

The two cities of Tomak’nax still consider themselves to be one and have a strong faith in the continuation of ancient traditions and connections. The soggy land between the two cities make land travel, trade, and communication between the two cities inconvenient compared to travel across the lake. To help maintain the tenuous connection between North Tomak’nax and South Tomak’nax the cities constructed an enormous cable ferry. The Cableway spans seven miles of water as the gull flies between North and South. Giant donkeys are kept on both ends of the cable to turn the cable winch. These donkeys are bred and magically enhanced specifically for the purpose of turning the cable winch. The donkeys operate the Cableway all day and year-round, with several teams that are swapped out to maintain fresh muscle on the winch. The ferry ride takes three hours with a new barge arriving at each dock once an hour. The mechanics of the winch allow each barge to hold still at the dock for fifteen minutes before departing. Through this marvelous piece of engineering and husbandry the two halves of Tomak’nax preserve an effortless connection.

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Giura

Giura is a town of 7,000 inhabitants. A small population of 400 Hobgoblins and 6,000 Goblins reside alongside 600 enraptured bugbears. The bugbears are a formidable force that allow Giura larger foreign influence than what its raw population numbers might indicate. Controlling the cannibalistic bugbears is achieved through the use of special medicinal herbs grown in a unique piece of Giura’s architecture, the Undergreen.

The Undergreen was formed during the Goblin War between the Goblin and Olympian pantheons. The great Phoenix engaged the Olympian hero Sadroston in combat above the site of Giura. The scorching flames of the Phoenix melted the entire landscape below, turning the ground into an enormous slab of radiant glass. The glass hardened under the flames of the Phoenix and the magical effusions of Sadroston. It became as hard as stone while still maintaining a measure of clarity.

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Untalpid

Untalpid is a small city of just under 13,000 people on the borders of the Shacklack Desert and the Ousreft Wastes. Of the 13,000, the majority are goblins with a tenth being Hobgoblins and a twentieth are various other humanoids. Untalpid serves as the overland connection between the Hobgoblin lands and India. A well-marked trade route winds through the arid climate to the south and then through a pass between the Dominarie and Himalayan mountain ranges.

The geography of the city is defined by a heptagram of temples that encircle the inner city. Three of the temples pay homage to one of the Goblin deities. These three are the Tree, the Bee, and the Ant. The four remaining temples are devoted to the four elements of air, earth, fire, and water. The seven temples also split the city up into seven pie sections, roughly describing the different industry of that section. Milling and baking in Tree, administration in Bee, Warehouses in Ant, textiles in Air, housing in Earth, smithing in Fire, and leatherworking in Water.

Enormous flowers grow around Untalpid creating what some have called the Flower Forest. The pollen from these flowers is refined in Untalpid to make flour for bread, but is also used to sustain the particular animal husbandry of the city. The two main livestock species of the town are giant ants and giant bees. Worker ants are used to plow the fields and warrior ants are ridden by the wealthy like horses. The ants of Untalpid have been bred over the centuries to produce a milky fluid instead of a stinging acid. This milk is called soola and tastes like bread pudding overflavored with cinnamon. The bees of Untalpid produce honey. Many leaders of Untalpid have wished to use the bees as aerial cavalry, but the bees do not take well to riders. The bees still prove useful in combat through the use of pheromones. Ant mounted Goblins carry a sealed vial of attack pheromones. They ride into an enemy formation and break the vial upon a foe, triggering a bee attack on whomever the vial hits along with anyone else nearby.

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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

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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