The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 2

Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 1

Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad split the work of investigating the Githyanki. Galandir inspected the unusual silver swords the Githyanki wielded. He discovered that they somehow attacked the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously cutting through every aspect of their victim. Tereman used divination magic to probe the other side of the dimensional portal the Githyanki used. He saw the void of the Astral Plane where the Githyanki made their home on the titanic corpse of a dead god. Blendegad examined the various alchemic items the invaders brought with them. He determined that they could be used to collect some form of energy from the Githyanki’s captives. Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad’s investigative and adventuring work together would earn them the name “The Gish Trio.”

Gish is a word in D&D that refers to a character who is good at using magic and fighting in melee combat. The term originally described the Githyanki style of fighting! Over the years gish came to refer to all D&D characters that know how to swing a sword and cast a spell.

While the Gish Trio did their work, the Githyanki spied on the Material Plane and their eyes fell on the dragon cults of Cimmeria. After the Dragon War groups of the Draconic side’s followers began to worship the primordial beings as gods. These dragon cults ultimately sought the return of their gods by destroying the Draconic Orbs. Applying the old saying of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the Githyanki began building an alliance with the dragon cults. Trading arcane knowledge and information about their two locations made both sides stronger.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 1

When the Olympians moved east they gave the Cimmerians additional magic power. These powers provided great entertainment for the Olympians, but were not without their costs. The Greek gods occasionally came into contact with other pantheons, most notably the Persian and Goblin pantheons. The additional power of mortals in Cimmeria attracted the attention of another semi-divine entity, the Lich-queen of the Githyanki.

The Githyanki come from a place between dimensions known as the Astral Plane. They wield strange psionic magic and are led by an immortal despot, the Lich-queen. While immortal, her power still pales before a true god’s. She constantly hungers for more power. Any Githyanki who rise above a certain level are summoned to the Lich-queen’s court to be consumed by their monarch. She absorbs their power into herself, becoming stronger by inches as she comes closer and closer to godhood.

The Lich-queen observed the growing power of the mortals in Cimmeria and sent a squadron of Githyanki soldiers to investigate. They attacked the small town of Shalerton, kidnapping several residents to torture and interrogate for information about the new dimension they had invaded.

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Shalerton

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Shalerton is a city-state with a population of about 50,000 people. Herds of sheep form the economic backbone of the city. Close to a million sheep live around Shalerton and there are enough pastures and vegetable farms to provide for a healthy diet for the livestock and the people of the city-state. The town itself is small for the number of citizens in the city-state. The necessary businesses like smiths, tailors, and mills occupy the majority of the real estate within the town walls. Government buildings such as courthouses, fire stations, police headquarters, the jail, and city hall fill out the rest of the space in town. There are almost no permanent residences separate from a person’s place of work. With so few residences, hotels and inns compete ruthlessly for customers. The three main hotels are: the Pot of Comfort, run by Jusilia, a mother goose character; the Traveler’s Home, run by Hardigan, a big fat bearded man; and the Yurgastraplax, run by Tgfjklwharydfbi the foreigner, whose nickname is Bill.

Only about 6,000 people live inside the town’s walls working in businesses or for Shalerton’s government. The government workers are part of a bureaucracy that is headed by the police chief. Lieutenant Hunter is a large man who controls everything in the town. Extra taxes usually go in his pockets instead of to the town treasury. He unofficially appoints all the bureaucrats, judges, and police in the entire town. He inherited this role from his father and his father before that. While the town is effectively a monarchy, the Lieutenant family (yes, their first name is Lieutenant and it is their family’s surname) has always stayed away from officially declaring their power.

In the past only police were allowed to carry weapons within the city. Spell books and anything else that could be magically offensive were not allowed inside the town walls as well. If somebody did wish to bring in a weapon special permission had to be gained from Lieutenant Hunter directly. Those who were granted weapons were made members of a special operations police force that occasionally acted as spies or secret police. Shalerton’s participation in the Second Alliance War has caused a shift in this policy. The general weapons ban has been lifted as Lieutenant Hunter believes an armed populace will assist in the defense of the city alongside the police force.

The large police force ensures that crime is close to nonexistent in Shalerton. Theft, murder, and rape are rare and punished severely soon after the crimes are committed. This reduced crime rate and swift response is not just because of the restrictions on weapons but also due to Lieutenant Hunter’s almost complete monopoly on magical power in Shalerton. All magic users must join the special operations force and the practicing of any simple magic within the city is highly regulated. Some magic users chafe under these rules, but Lieutenant Hunter does his best to keep his special operations force happy with gifts and the occasional party in their honor. Using these bribes, Hunter is able to keep the magic users power in his court. With liberal application of divination magicks he is able to predict most crimes before they happen and discover the culprit of those that do fly in under the radar.

Lieutenant Hunter also plays a hand in the town’s economic system through price controls. His grandfather started this practice and he continues it. Price controls on most commodities eliminate excessive time spent on haggling allowing the people of Shalerton to spend more time at work or at home. The price controls also serve to protect both producers and consumers depending on market conditions. Initially the populace resisted these controls and there was even a revolt, but since that time the citizens of Shalerton have grown to love the predictability the price controls bring. Few would dream of returning to the old unregulated system.

In recent years Shalerton joined the Second Alliance against Xoria, not out of good hearted nature, but because Lieutenant Hunter feared his town might be one of the first on the Xorian invasion route. Unfortunately, due to Shalerton’s history of restricting the public’s access to weapons the people of Shalerton have little real martial experience. Their troops were kept out of the early battles of the war to train and were not present at the Siege of Phoenix. Training continues under the eyes of Junai and Gradorian and soon the Shalerton militia will be a formidable force indeed.

-GoCorral