Style Change

I’ve been mulling over a writing style change to the D&D section of the blog that I’ve decided to implement.

The capitalization of different races in D&D is a little strange. Normally you wouldn’t capitalize a word like “elf,” but what do elves speak in D&D? They speak Elvish and the current convention in English is to capitalize the names of languages. In English, languages are associated with racial identities or nationalities and thus one would also capitalize the nationality. So, “a Spaniard speaks Spanish,” is correct and, “a spaniard speaks spanish,” is incorrect. That puts me in a weird position where “elf” is not normally capitalized, but seems like it should be. After all, if Elvish is capitalized as a language then “elf” should also be capitalized as a national/racial identity.

That’s how I wrote the blog for a couple years, but the style is now starting to irritate me. It has internal consistency, but no matter how I look at it, the style looks wrong. I’ve decided to change it. Going forward, I’ll be only capitalizing fantasy races when referring to languages they speak or some sort of official group identity. For example, “the dwarves live in the Dwarven Kingdom,” or something like that.

I’ve also changed all my previous posts and pages to align with this standard. Everything should be fairly consistent across the blog now.

Cimmerian Timeline Part 38

Previous: Cimmerian Timeline Part 37

Here’s the story of Kruk-Ma-Kali condensed into timeline entries! As well as the conclusion to Shortrastor’s royal line. Of course more happens to Kharad-khor after Kruk-Ma-Kali’s death, but that will be covered another time.

722BCE: Kona-Ranor gave birth to Kruk-Ma-Kali.

710BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali’s psionic powers emerged.

709BCE: Kona-Ranor noticed Kruk-Ma-Kali’s powers and sent him away to learn how to control them. Kruk-Ma-Kali joined the Shacklack School for Psions.

703BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali left the Shacklack School for Psions with a journeyman’s understanding of telepathic magic.

702BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali joined Lork-Bran-Dron’s army. He rose through the ranks quickly as Lork-Bran-Dron led the Goblinoids of Trung Town against Tomak’nax. During the Siege of Tomak’nax, Kruk-Ma-Kali found Kharad-khor. With the Sword of War in his hand, Kruk-Ma-Kali came up with a plan that enabled the capture of the city. At the victory parade, Kruk-Ma-Kali challenged Lork-Bran-Dron for control. He defeated his king and took the crown for himself. Kruk-Ma-Kali led his army on a conquering sweep of the Hobgoblin Lands.

701BCE: King Kruk-Ma-Kali used his secret telepathic powers to forge alliances. Kharad-khor provided the knowledge of how best to defeat those who would not be swayed. In two years of lightning campaigns, Kruk-Ma-Kali unified the Hobgoblin Lands under a single leader.

700BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali began a long campaign in Eastern Cimmeria. His hobgoblin army marched through the Orc Lands to gain allies. The combined army of goblinoids and orcs attacked Valor Forest, but couldn’t penetrate the interior. Kruk-Ma-Kali took captives, including the elven mage, Sahamathrian. Kruk-Ma-Kali set fire to the forest and left. His army sacked Fangaroot and, thanks to Kruk-Ma-Kali’s telepathic mind, walked away with more troops than they started with.

699BCE: Bjorn Skizofren tricked Kruk-Ma-Kali, allowing Dalleer to be evacuated. Kruk-Ma-Kali burned the empty city and vowed to return to do the same to its people. He sacked Bradel Fields and placed it under occupation. The people of Eastern Cimmeria unified against the goblinoids. The year’s campaign continued as Kruk-Ma-Kali fought battle after battle towards Nomingburg.

698BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali reached Nomingburg and placed it under siege. He defeated Nomingburg’s defenses by using portal magic to flood the city. Sahamathrian assisted with the portal ritual. Nomingburg was sacked and then abandoned to water and disease. Princess Alfeita died during the looting of Nomingburg.

697BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali assaulted Jipangu at great loss of life. The goblinoids pillaged the city and occupied it. Kruk-Ma-Kali ordered the execution of all dwarves at Jipangu due to the casualties they had inflicted on his army. Next, Kruk-Ma-Kali led his people into the tunnels beneath the Dominarie Mountains on a genocidal extermination of the dwarves there.

696BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali’s army ambushed and killed the remnants of the Dominarie army led by Queen Shortrastor. They continued on and reached Shortrastoria. The hobgoblins burned the capital. Princess Tandia entered labor during the fighting, but went missing shortly thereafter.

695BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali’s army completed their west to east circuit of the Dominarie Mountains, having slain every dwarf they could find. Satisfied with the destruction of Eastern Cimmeria, Kruk-Ma-Kali led his people home to celebrate in the empire’s new capital, Trung Town.

694BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali enacted many reforms to strengthen the Hobgoblin Empire and its capital, Trung Town.

693BCE: Kruk-Ma-Kali began planning a second long campaign in Eastern and Northern Cimmeria. Before the plans could be finalized, he was assassinated by a goblin servant wielding a poisoned dagger. The hobgoblin generals that Kruk-Ma-Kali had unified through his telepathic might split into warring factions. Overnight the Hobgoblin Empire became a set of squabbling states.

692BCE: Khuz-kukk-ghor and Vokh-jrozzhul began building a tomb for Kruk-Ma-Kali with the help of the elven wizard, Sahamathrian.

672BCE: General Graz-Khrodun emerged from the wars after Kruk-Ma-Kali’s death as the owner of the Trung Town capital.

670BCE: Work on the Tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kal was completed. Sahamathrian turned Khuz-kukk-ghor and Vokh-jrozzhul into undead guardians of the tomb as his last act to earn his freedom.
The elf went to Crux to learn the secret of becoming a lich.

640BCE: Graz-Khrodun’s daughter, Graz-Lokbar, ascended to the throne of “Emperor of the Hobgoblins.” Her charismatic pull actually made it seem that she could reunite the Hobgoblin Lands. Many unaffiliated goblinoids flocked to her banner at Trung Town

639BCE: Graz-Lokbar led her legion of goblinoids on an invasion of Dalleer’s territory. The Bjorn took the city’s army out and waited to ambush the hobgoblins. The enemy entered the kill zone, but the Bjorn refused to give the command to attack. The hobgoblins walked past the Dalleer army and raided villages. The Bjorn’s commanders were infuriated. They took the army into their own hands and vanquished the hobgoblin threat.
When the generals returned they conferred with the other authorities in Dalleer. They agreed the new Bjorn couldn’t be allowed to make decisions. The position’s power was reduced to that of ceremony while the civil servants would run the city from the shadows.
Graz-Lokbar returned to Trung Town in disgrace. Her magnetic personality brought her followers, but she had no skill in battle. The former capital of the Hobgoblin Empire entered a steep decline.

Next: Cimmerian Timeline Part 39

The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 13

Previous: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 12

Kruk-Ma-Kali’s tomb was eventually found and raided by the Second Alliance. The Alliance members sought Kharad-khor, having heard rumors of its magical power to win battles. The traps and creatures of the tomb were defeated by Tagenadi, Torin, Amalius, Aldarian, and Terroc. At the end Terroc claimed the sword and revealed himself as a secret agent of the dragovinians. With Kharad-khor in hand he teleported away to the Xorians.

King Jevaninada II had hoped to use Kharad-khor in the same manner that the Second Alliance had, as a weapon of war. Unfortunately, the spirit of Kruk-Ma-Kali was impossible to reason with. The hobgoblin ghost would be wielded by a hobgoblin or by no one. Frustrated by the sword’s obstinance, Jevaninada threw it into the Caspian Sea. Jevaninada assumed that no one would never see the sword again as it sunk to the bottom of the sea floor, but even in the water there are creatures that can wield swords.

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The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 12

Previous: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 11

Kruk-Ma-Kali’s assassination and his “last will and testament” led to immediate infighting amongst his generals. They were unified by Kruk-Ma-Kali’s hidden telepathic influence. As that power disappeared, those who used to be friends became bitter enemies. The generals occupying Bradel Fields and Jipangu decamped the cities to make a play for the imperial throne. A series of civil wars engulfed the Hobgoblin Lands for several decades.

Although dead, Kruk-Ma-Kali’s psionic soul endured. As he died he transferred his ethereal consciousness into Kharad-khor. The black sword was taken by Kruk-Ma-Kali’s loyal generals, Khuz-kukk-ghor and Vokh-jrozzhul, to his birthplace within the Great Valley of Shacklack Desert. The two generals oversaw the construction of a great trap-filled tomb and many false tombs in honor of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s final words. His true heir would inherit his sword, his treasure, and his consciousness, but only if they conquered the trials of the tombs.

One of the elven mages that Kruk-Ma-Kali captured in Valor Forest assisted with the construction of the tombs. This elf, Sahamathrian, had helped Kruk-Ma-Kali at Nomingburg with the teleportation wormhole ritual. Now, under the influence of the diabolic goblins his magical interests had drifted towards necromancy. Sahamathrian created hundreds of undead creatures to help defend the tomb of Kruk-Ma-Kali. After two decades of building, his final act was to kill the two generals, Khuz-kukk-ghor and Vokh-jrozzhul. Their devotion to Kruk-Ma-Kali extended into the afterlife. Sahamathrian raised them into willing undead warriors, eternal servants of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s will.

After completing the tomb, Sahamathrian killed all those who had worked on it or knew of its location. Without a master, the elf was finally free. He researched a method of turning his own body into an immortal undead creature. He found the answer in the ritual of the lich at Crux. After his transformation he returned to the Shacklack Desert as the Bane of the Lich Shade.

Next: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 13

The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 11

Previous: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 10

Kruk-Ma-Kali’s return to Trung Town was met by month long celebration. Captive slaves fought in mock battles to reenact the army’s victories. The food of Eastern Cimmeria was freely available to all. Kruk-Ma-Kali dispersed a purse of silver to every goblinoid that came to the city for the celebrations. The whole of the Hobgoblin Lands joined in honoring Kruk-Ma-Kali and his accomplishments.

The party also brought to light the deficiencies of Trung Town as a capital for the Hobgoblin Empire. Kruk-Ma-Kali decided to keep Trung Town as his capital and improve it. Several huge building projects were started simultaneously. The large structures included a royal palace, a massive arena, a huge bath structure, and several temples to the Animal gods. The population of Trung Town exploded, requiring the expansion of the city dwellings, business fronts, and storage for food and goods. The sound of construction filled Trung Town for many years after Kruk-Ma-Kali’s return.

Kruk-Ma-Kali began the sobering prospect of administrative reform. A new currency was minted from the precious metal treasures of the Conclave races. Kruk-Ma-Kali ordered the laws of the Hobgoblin Lands to be unified and codified. He provided generous subsidies for agriculture. Those who had served in the great campaign were given 25 acres of land each to start a farm or sell to fund a business. New recruits to the army were promised the same if they served well. The sun seemed to be shining bright on the future of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s empire.

As Trung Town and the Hobgoblin Empire took shape, Kruk-Ma-Kali began to get restless. He called his generals together and began plans for another campaign. This time they would attack the cities of Northern Cimmeria and the dwarves within the Terror Mountains. As preparations were made, tragedy befell the hobgoblin people. Kruk-Ma-Kali was stabbed by a goblin wielding a poisoned dagger. Whether this was a lone actor or part of a larger conspiracy was never discovered. Kruk-Ma-Kali died a few hours after the stabbing. On his deathbed he declared the heir of his empire. He willed the throne, “To the strongest.”

Next: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 12

The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 10

Previous: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 9

Kruk-Ma-Kali moved to attack Queen Shortrastor and the Dominarie Mountain Dwarves. He led his army to the western hills of the Dominarie Mountain range. His troops entered the tunnels with their king in the lead. Kruk-Ma-Kali used magic crystals to boost his telepathic powers. His enhanced brain detected dwarven minds for miles ahead of him. With his psionics as a homing beacon, Kruk-Ma-Kali found every Dominarie Dwarf settlement and eradicated them. The hobgoblins got closer and closer to the capital, Shortrastoria, killing and eating every dwarf they came across in a cannibalistic genocide.

Knowing she had to do something, Queen Shortrastor took every able-bodied dwarf out to defend the tunnels. Finally sensing the army’s presence ahead of him, Kruk-Ma-Kali ordered the hobgoblins to prepare a trap. As the dwarves approached, Kruk-Ma-Kali collapsed the tunnels upon them. Those that survived were butchered by hobgoblins at the exits to the cave-in.

With no considerable force standing in his way, Kruk-Ma-Kali marched on the Dominarie capital. Princess Tandia, the grandaughter of Queen Shortrastor, took up the defense of the city. Although she was nine months pregnant she fought on the frontlines alongside the remaining defenders available to the dwarven people. A sling bullet to the head knocked Princess Tandia out and initiated labor. Her attendants took her off the battlefield as the hobgoblins swarmed over the walls of the capital.

Kruk-Ma-Kali heard of the Princess’s pregnancy and promised an enormous reward to whoever brought him the baby to eat. Hobgoblins raged through Shortrastoria, searching for the royal child, looting and burning as they went. The Princess and her child were not found. Figuring that she had left the city, Kruk-Ma-Kali continued his rampage, going east through the entirety of the Dominarie Mountains. Every dwarf was slain, but none could be positively identified as Princess Tandia or her infant.

Kruk-Ma-Kali ordered a return home. With the whole treasure of Fangaroot, Bradel Fields, Nomingburg, Jipangu, and the Dominarie Dwarves in their possession the army was quite satisfied. The races of the Conclave had been chastised and the Hobgoblin Empire now extended west to the Caspian. Kruk-Ma-Kali gave the goblinoids a portion of their homelands back and they would remember him forever for it.

Next: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 11

The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 9

Previous: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 8

The hobgoblin army pushed towards Jipangu. Kruk-Ma-Kali’s orc and kobold allies had mostly deserted after Nomingburg. All that remained was his loyal goblinoids. Against them stood the Humans and Dwarves of Jipangu along with the Dominarie Dwarves. The allied defenders offered no battle in the open field. Instead they burned their crops to deny them to the hobgoblins as they retreated to the safety of Jipangu’s plateau. With food in short supply, Kruk-Ma-Kali resolved to take the city quickly by force.

The plateau of Jipangu made regular approach a suicidal proposition. Kruk-Ma-Kali built a dozen metal covered wagons to protect his people from missile attacks. These wagons were brought to the base of the plateau and parked. A group of sappers set to work beneath the wagon roofs. The sappers aimed to build a tunnel into the center of Jipangu. Unfortunately, the seers of Jipangu predicted the tunnel’s egress point. As the sappers broke through they were greeted by large cauldrons of boiling oil poured down the whole of the shaft.

Kruk-Ma-Kali ordered an attack through the tunnel despite the defenders’ preparation. The Dwarves of Dominarie held the tunnel mouth for hours, but it soon became clear that the tunnel attack was just a diversion. Kruk-Ma-Kali had used the distraction to move an enormous ram up to the city gates. The people of Jipangu refocused their forces, but it was too late. The ram broke the gate and the Hobgoblins flowed into the city. The diversionary attack caused enormous losses for Kruk-Ma-Kali’s army, but Jipangu was now his.

The majority of Kruk-Ma-Kali’s casualities were inflicted by dwarves. Kruk-Ma-Kali ordered the execution of all dwarves in Jipangu and served their bodies to his army as a victory feast. The king put General Lohk-Ho-Nor in charge of an occupation force. Kruk-Ma-Kali’s next conquest would be those who had bloodied his nose. The Dominarie Mountains would feel the might of Kruk-Ma-Kali.

Next: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 10

The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 8

Previous: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 7

The approach to Nomingburg is where resistance to Kruk-Ma-Kali’s invasion truly began. The Halflings of Nomingburg organized an alliance while the hobgoblins were busy along the Black River. Elvish mages from Valor Forest came south. The Humans of Jipangu sent their best. The Dominarie Dwarves also joined the defense of their neighbor. Leading the combined forces was Princess Alfeita of Dominarie. Queen Shortrastor was too old to stand in battle, so she sent her daughter in her place.

The combined force seemed ideal for countering the hobgoblin invasion. Even with all their advantages, they fell before Kruk-Ma-Kali’s strategic genius. Flanks, feints, and counterattacks, with lightning speed and skill Kruk-Ma-Kali’s army always had the upper hand against the allied army. Every battle was a victory for the hobgoblin king and every battle brought him closer to Nomingburg.

Nomingburg itself was well prepared for an assault. A dry moat lined with stakes surrounded the city walls. The dirt from the moat was used to create a further earthen rampart surrounding the moat itself. Archers, ballistae, and catapults topped the walls, ready to fire on anyone or anything that approached. Tons of food were stockpiled inside for a lengthy siege. Kruk-Ma-Kali ordered the town encircled by siege walls and began to starve the city out.

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The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 7

Previous: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 6

After Valor Forest Kruk-Ma-Kali brought his army to bear on the settlements along the Black River. They crossed Talon’s Bed and struck at Fangaroot first. The dragon treasure of Kenderax still lay within the city after Shaelin’s strike. Kruk-Ma-Kali stormed the crumbling walls of Fangaroot and sacked the city. All the booty was dispersed among the assembled army or taken in cartloads back to Trung Town. Kruk-Ma-Kali used his telepathic talents to turn many of the weak-willed kobold defenders of Fangaroot to his side. As before in the Orc Lands, he left Fangaroot with an army larger than he started with.

Bjorn Skizofren rode with a small guard to meet Kruk-Ma-Kali for a peace discussion two days out from Dalleer. He brought with him a large supply of Crafterton alcohol. With the strong liquor flowing, a day of negotiations extended into three days of debauchery. As the liquid ran out, Kruk-Ma-Kali sobered up, and realized he had been duped. The peace talks were a diversion while the Bjorn enacted some other scheme. Enraged, Kruk-Ma-Kali imprisoned Bjorn Skizofren and marched on Dalleer.

Kruk-Ma-Kali reached Dalleer and found the city abandoned. He ordered Skizofren brought out, but the Bjorn had already escaped captivity and made it across the river in a small boat. The population of Dalleer had used their leader’s distraction to empty the city of people and valuables. Kruk-Ma-Kali flew into a rage and ordered Dalleer torched. The city went up in flames, but its people survived. Rather than attempt to cross the river on a wild goose chase, Kruk-Ma-Kali vowed to return. He led his army further south to Bradel Fields.

Kruk-Ma-Kali satisfied his bloodlust at Bradel Fields. The hobgoblins tore through the city and freed all the goblin slaves kept by the Humans of Bradel Fields. Not content with sacking the city, Kruk-Ma-Kali occupied it with a force of 10,000 goblinoids. As the humans had enslaved the goblins, the humans would now be enslaved in turn. The hobgoblin king left General Tahz-Lokun in control of the city before taking the majority of the army east towards Nomingburg in his conquering sweep of Eastern Cimmeria.

Next: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 8

The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 6

Previous: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 5

With his large army Kruk-Ma-Kali struck outwards. He marched through the Orc Lands in a display of force to forestall any raids while his army was abroad. The parade did more than intimidate the orcs. Many of the tusked people joined the army, hoping for spoils in the coming invasion. After the orcs, Kruk-Ma-Kali’s soldiers fell upon the Valor Forest Elves in an avalanche of steel and fire.

The sylvan people had retreated from public life in Cimmeria after the Dragon War. The hobgoblin attack took them off guard and penetrated deep into the heart of the forest. With their inner culture threatened, the elves rallied. They erected powerful magic wards against the goblinoids. Their safe zone erected, the elves began pushing back against Kruk-Ma-Kali’s forces. His goblin troops could not proceed further into Valor Forest, so Kruk-Ma-Kali released captive Giuran owlbears into the forest to cross the elven wards. Behind the owlbears he set fire to the forest and had his mages use wind magic to blow the blaze towards the elves. If Kruk-Ma-Kali could not have Valor Forest, he would not permit the elves to have it either.

Kruk-Ma-Kali led his army out of the woods carrying the treasure and slaves they’d taken. The elves were the strongest force in Eastern Cimmeria and they were now neutralized. No credible force stood between Kruk-Ma-Kali and the cities of the east. He turned the hobgoblin people south along Talon’s Bed towards Fangaroot, Dalleer, and Bradel Fields.

Next: The Days of Kruk-Ma-Kali Part 7