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 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

Previous: Cimmerian Timeline Part 32

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 7

The Lich-queen on her bone throne

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Tracy needed to feed the information on the tying of immortal threads to the Blue Dragon Cult. Relying on the same methods she’d used during the Dragon War, Tracy formed an information network in Cimmeria. Her spies told Tracy that the Cult was making inquiries on the subject in Greshendale. Tracy went there with copies of Shratalanda’s notes and sold them to the Blue Dragon Cultists. The seeds of discord were sown for her enemies and they paid her to do it. Now all she had to do was wait.

As predicted, Bavastatner acted on the information. He sent his followers to the Temple of the Fates on Crete. They stole the threads of Bavastatner and the Styx. With the threads in his possession, Bavastatner entwined his fate with that of the River Styx. With that, he broke his contract with the Lich-queen. All his offspring were recalled to the Shacklack, except for the eggs the Githyanki took to the Astral Plane. These captive hatchlings would be raised by the Githyanki and bred within the Astral Plane to maintain their draconic force for centuries afterwards.

Furious, the Lich-queen prepared to go to war with the blue dragons. She led the assault herself rather than relying on the sarath or the adlishar. 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.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 5

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Githyanki invaders touched every part of Cimmeria. Rather than target the politically powerful they attacked mortals skilled in the martial or magical arts. Powerful warriors, magicians, and clerics disappeared as the adlishar and sarath elite of the Githyanki swept across Cimmeria. With the strongest protectors removed the Githyanki infantry invaded. They attacked the city-states, pillaged their treasuries, and enslaved the urban people of Cimmeria to provide resources and servants to the Astral Plane.

Tereman had been spying on the Githyanki using dimensional portals. He learned of the attacks before they occurred, but underestimated the scope. Thus Tracy and the Gish Trio had only been able to organize defenses for Shalerton, Crafterton, and Nomingburg. After the initial attacks failed on the strongest of those cities the Githyanki didn’t follow up with a full-scale invasion. The Lich-queen was content with the prizes she had earned across the rest of Cimmeria.

Tracy and the Gish Trio began planning how to drive back the Githyanki and defeat Bavastatner. The problems would undoubtedly be easier to manage if the alliance between the Lich-queen and Bavastatner was destroyed. Tereman’s divinations revealed that the pair had sworn their alliance on the River Styx and that Bavastatner was searching for a way out of his oath. Tracy came up with a plot. The Gish Trio would help Bavastatner achieve his goal and then with their enemies divided they would strike.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 4

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The Blue Dragon menace had returned to Cimmeria, but there was a silver lining; Tracy had returned as well. The magic tying her return to the breaking of the Blue Orb also controlled the location of her return. Tracy reappeared next to the people most likely to help her fight the blue dragons. Those best suited for reimprisoning Bavastatner and Renvesharhialisv were the Gish Trio, Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad.

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. Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad were accomplished warriors and magicians. Additionally, they had the most experience out of anyone in fighting the Githyanki. Tracy was a trickster thief of legend and could call on the resources of Nomingburg and Crafterton to help their struggle.

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