Phoenix

The original concept for this city was created by one of the players in my group. His internet pseudonym is Middle_Snu, so he should get some of the credit for making Phoenix what it is. I expanded on his ideas to write what you see below.

Phoenix

At the merging of the Curving Stream and Delain Tribute lies Phoenix, a city of some 120,000 inhabitants. Phoenix has always revolved around guilds. Every Phoenixian worth their salt belongs to one of the influential guilds of the city. Guilds are legally allowed to kill unlicensed professionals who fall under their jurisdiction if those individuals refuse a position within the guild. As a result, being blacklisted from a guild generally means a move to a new city or a change in profession. Strangely, even the thieves of Phoenix have an official guild. In actuality, “thieves” keep the streets clean acting as a police force, assuming that a sum of protection money is paid to them. Unlicensed thieves, in the meantime, are tortured for days upon being captured.

Phoenix is a major trade center between Western and Eastern Cimmeria. Many things can be bought in Phoenix, including people. The Slaver’s Guild is a major force, though there isn’t much traffic in newly captured slaves. Phoenix imports a lot of metal from Jord, and grain barges moving upriver for the Dwarves are not an uncommon sight.

Spellcasters have a special place in the guild system. Sorcerers and wizards must register for the Mage’s Guild in order to be able to cast spells legally (costs 50 gp), but clerics, even those of the Titans, may cast freely. Because full members of the Mage’s Guild are required to create a certain number of magical items for sale every year, Phoenix has a booming trade in magical items. Arcane scrolls, potions, and magical items can generally be bought here for as much as 10% below market price. On the other hand, selling magical items without being a member of the Mage’s Guild or a member of the local clergy is a capital crime.

The Mage’s Guild and the rights of clergy were recently upset by the Xorian takeover of Phoenix. All resident clerics of the Olympian pantheon were given a choice, convert to Dragoviniysm or face execution. Most of the clerics chose to die rather than betray their gods. The members of the Mage’s Guild were given a similar choice, but they accepted. The majority of the mage journeymen were turned into Dragovinians to become the new elite of Phoenix.

There was an Adventurer’s Guild in Phoenix prior to the Xorian invasion. The members were simple individuals for the most part who hired themselves out to the highest bidder. Groups of six or more adventurers could be hired for contracts, although prices were steep. There was a ill-defined barrier between the Mercenary’s Guild and the Adventurer’s Guild as to the proper jurisdictions of each. This disagreement had sparked street-fighting in the past, but the difference between the two guilds were set aside when the Xorians approached the city. During the Battle of Phoenix, the Adventurer’s Guild was wiped out. Many of the mercenaries fought on to the last while the guild leaders of Phoenix escaped. Those who surrendered were given the choice of turning to Dragovinians. Many accepted this offer. The two headmasters of the Mercenary’s Guild, Gradorian and Junai, escaped and are rebuilding a military force in Jipangu to combat the Xorians.

Prior to the Xorian invasion the Thief’s Guild oversaw the day to day business of the city and, with the assistance of the clerics, arbitrated any disputes between the guilds. The laws of the city fluctuated based on what guild a person belonged to. Nonmember visitors to the city fell under the Thief’s Guild jurisdiction leading to a high pickpocket rate in Phoenix for people without guild membership. Since the invasion, the militocracy of Phoenix has taken over. King Jevaninada II has made Phoenix into a base to quarter his troops for the coming winter. Blendegad has also moved his throne to the main temple of Phoenix. Blendegad and Jevaninada II personally oversee the activities of the city.

The city’s supplies were already stretched thin during the protracted siege, but now they are forced to provide for thousands of additional Xorian soldiers who were once the city’s enemies. The Xorian supply chains alleviate some of this problem, but those same supply chains are also under attack by the Rebels in Gazeara. Not wanting his own troops to suffer, King Jevaninada II has taken food, clothing, and homes from the people of Xoria and given them to his own soldiers. Thousands of Phoenix citizens are left on the streets with food or shelter. The execution of most of the clerics in Phoenix has only exacerbated this issue. Winter will come soon and many malnourished people will die once the temperature drops.

The Innkeeper’s Guild continues to maintain only one inn in Phoenix, the King’s Rest. Spanning some three blocks, the King’s Rest has everything from a hard floor and gruel to the most luxurious suites with gourmet foot on demand. Prices range from 1 cp-100 gp a night. Stables are an additional 1 silver per night per horse. The Innkeeper’s guildmaster is Bernarda, a Human. The King’s Rest was used to house hundreds of Alliance soldiers before the invasion and now it holds a complementary amount of Xorian troops. Bernarda has taking a liking to Dragoviniysm. She attends services every week and hopes that her actions as the Innkeeper’s guildmaster will earn her immortality as a Dragovinian.

-GoCorral

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Hercules Movie Review

Hercules Movie Poster

Hulu has started streaming movies as well as TV shows. I’d wanted to see the new Hercules movie since it came out. Perfect Combination!

The movie stars Dwayne Johnson (are we still calling him the Rock?) in the title role, which is probably one of the best casts I can think of for Hercules.

The trailer advertises the classic story of the Twleve Labors of Hercules with our hero slaying many beasts  to thunderous applause.

That is not what the movie is about. At all.

So with that disappointment out of the way, let’s talk about what the movie is about.

Hercules and his band of friends are mercenaries with Hercules as the front man.

Hercules and his band of misfits are hired by King Cotys to defeat the barbarian warlord, Rhesus, who is attacking local towns. They train Cotys’ army and then lots of fight scenes ensue. Standard action movie stuff.

The group plays up Hercules’ reputation by constantly reinforcing that he is the son of Zeus and that he’s slain tons of fantastical monsters. All of that is false in this story. No monsters. No divine parentage. Just stories to make Hercules more intimidating to their foes.

There is a bit about Hercules having to fight centaurs later on in the movie, but a nod is given to what some people believe inspired the myth of centaurs, people riding horses. A person unfamiliar with that practice might assume that they were seeing a human-horse hybrid and not just a person on top of a horse.

As for Hercules’ well-known strength that many are familiar with from the Disney movie, that is actually in the movie. It’s not to the supernatural degree, but he is still really freaking strong.

There is some augmnetation for that intimidation factor I mentioned. At one point Hercules kills a man with one punch. The audience sees that he accomplished this by concealing an arrowhead in his fist and stabbing it into the man’s skull.

Hercules is very similar to 300 and Beowulf. He even shares the iconic scene in Beowulf where the title character shouts his name to emphasize his manliness. If you liked those movies you will like Hercules.

If you’re looking for a story that is actually about the myths of Hercules, that isn’t here. There are tons of references to the myths, but no actual reenactments. Similar to Troy the movie tries to show us how historical events could’ve inspired those myths instead of showing the myths themselves.

If none of that interests you the movie is still a decent action movie. Lots of well choreographed violence and snarky one-liners. It’s not the best in that genre, but I certainly enjoyed myself.

If any of the stuff I said interested you, go check out Hercules in the DVD section of your local store or on Hulu if you have a subscription (I don’t think you can watch it there if you don’t have one).

-GoCorral

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 27

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 26

With the Hykman League now under the power of Navillus they’ve gotta start doing some evil stuff, like taking over other cities with bloody massacres for example! Rotandean is reintegrated into the League and Elves become second class citizens. The Hobgoblins are locked out as well. Amidst all this turmoil in the Eastern Maw, the Rana initiate a artistic revival. While playing Dawn of Worlds we imagined this to be kind of like the Renaissance. That should give us an excuse for pretty much any sort of art style existing in Gurutama if the DM wants to describe something in a particular way. It also gives the DM the excuse to have crazy Renaissance tech like pedal-powered hang gliders.

This post also features the return of the Avians. Prior to this point we’d imagined the Avians as something similar to a slave race. They’ve been a subject population to the Merfolk for centuries and the Merfolk had been exporting sentient beings from Rontu-Aru. Slavery is bad and all, but this is the way the world worked in the past and still somewhat today. I wanted the Avians to have a little bit of power in the last stages of Gurutama, so I initiated the uprising with my Dawn of Worlds points.

Najar also cleanses the Grez ice, proving that such a thing is possible. Maybe that’s a campaign plot there! And we’re closing in on the final Gurutama Time Revising post. Next one should be the last!

743 NA: With battle hardened soldiers at Hykma and the Hearth, the new Hykman League exploded outward. Troops from the Hearth were sent northward to conquer Farpoint and integrate it into the empire.

And with word of the Elven betrayal ruminating in Hykma, the city struck south at Rotandean. Despite being unaffiliated with the True Arrows, the Elven soldiers of Rotandean were mercilessly slaughtered by the followers of Navillus.

Finally, rather than brave the Freedom Road and the fighting between the Hobgoblins and the Elves, the Hykman Empire sealed the Homestone Bridge. The Bastion was fortified to defend the bridge and more soldiers quartered there in preparation for future conflicts.

744 NA: The strife of the wars tested the mettle of the Rana. They overcame and learned from the challenge; their ways of peace and kindness grew. Strife, chaos, and unchecked emotion ravaged the lands of the Hykman League, and yet the Rana were able to channel the horrors. An artistic renaissance permeated from Pulchrito and Domicilius: painting, poetry, literature, sculpture, and theater. For the first time, creativity and expression began to overcome the blunt wealth and splendor that previously dominated the minds and hearts of the Hykman people.

745 NA: With the world at war, mercenaries were in high demand. On Balkus, Captain Lucrais DeBaal of the Zephyr formed a fleet of sails for hire. He was quickly contracted by the Bastion to defend their channel. A fleet was formed to defend the Canal from Elven small boats and to prevent passage across the Canal by any means other than the Homestone Bridge.

746 NA: Farpoint falls to the Hykman siege and becomes a subject province the the League.

748 NA: Shrieking noises could be heard day and night in the southern jungles. Old fears awoke in the hearts of the Merfolk. The Avian menace had returned at the same time that passage through the Great Canal was disrupted. Izquitl sent forth her feathered warriors. The city of Tortuga was taken and renamed. The place became Hobru-Peche to the Avians, or New Roost in the Human tongue.

The Merfolk, not wanting to start a war with Hykma, begin fervent negotiations to move an army through the Great Canal. The Hykmans delay and block negotiations.

749 NA: A Merfolk fleet is sent to Rontu-Aru via the Groshan Sea. The fleet sustains heavy losses to Avian aerial raids on the way and is unable to retake Tortuga.

750 NA: The Avians, now firmly in control of Hubru-Peche, started flying across the ocean to harass the Elves of the southern forest as well as any ships that sailed in The Neck or the Groshan Sea.

The volcano at the heart of the Red Peaks continued to pulsate and radiate heat. The ice, both in the mountains and in the city of Najar, melted. The heat remained. The sun always seemed to shine bright and strong on the city and the place was always warm. The days could be sweltering, but the nights were simply heavenly. Cool breezes gently flowed throughout the city and from his throne, the Mercenary King Jizero smiled. The ruins themselves seemed to melt away and be reshaped. Soon enough, one could hardly see signs of the terrible plight so many years ago. Najar, the Holy City, the City of Endless Summer, was reborn.

-GoCorral

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 28