Cimmerian Timeline Part 56

Previous: Cimmerian Timeline Part 55

Loose ends for coming to the end of the timeline!

1115BCE: The Olympians recognized that the new toys they’d given their mortals were strong tools in the right hands and explosive mistakes in the wrong hands. To ensure the magical artifacts weren’t misused, Zeus created the Museum of Power in Nox. To guard the building, Poseidon set powerful enchantments around it and Hades brought Argus back from the dead to defend it.

742BCE: Enough vampires had arisen in Cimmeria to form a community centered in Crux. They pooled their resources to acquire blood to drink. They offered gold in exchange for blood. This collection of gold and blood grew into the Bank of Lamentation, one of the most securely guarded locations in Cimmeria.

647BCE: The blue dragons of Shacklack took advantage of the sand giant genocide to attack fire giant tribes in the desert. Without their sand giant allies, the fire giants had weaknesses in their defensive network. Many fire giants were wiped out, relocated, or swore fealty to the blue dragons.

646BCE: Chirrigar the fire giant’s tribe was wiped out. Without a home he wandered through the desert and came upon an abandoned scepter. He grasped the rod and felt tremendous power flow into him. He went to the cave of the dragon that had slain his tribe and killed it in return. Chirrigar claimed the dragon’s hoard for himself and then left Shacklack Desert to avoid retribution.

645BCE: Chirrigar spread the dragon’s wealth across Eastern Cimmeria. He told stories of a new city he was founding east of the Aral Sea.

644BCE: Chirrigar went east of the Aral Sea and planted a large piece of quartz he had found his dragon treasure hoard. The quartz grew into the stunning ice city of Dorrowsan.

520BCE: The old lich of Crux, Vectra, developed a new spell of unimaginable destruction. The magic was capable of wiping out all life within a three mile radius of the casting. Vectra demonstrated the spell and then opened negotiations with various governments to sell it. She sold copies of the devastation spell to Xoria, Persia, Ethiopia, and some of the Indian kingdoms.

Blood Red Sky Movie Review

Blood Red Sky is a new German language film released through Netflix on July 23rd 2021. The movie is about a mother, Nadja, and her pre-teen son, Elias, traveling on a red-eye flight from Europe to New York. Nadja is going to the USA for a medical procedure. The voyage is interrupted when the flight is highjacked by a group of armed men. What the highjackers don’t know is that Nadja is secretly a vampire. She hides in the cargo section of the plane and begins killing them one by one in an effort to rescue her son and the other passengers.

As this is a vampire film one’s first thought might be that it is a horror movie. That’s not really the case. By making the vampire the protagonist, Blood Red Sky, is somewhat of a genre-bender. I feel like it has more in common with the thriller genre than the horror genre. Blood Red Sky is quite similar to Liam Neeson’s The Commuter as the action is restricted to a single vehicle that remains in motion for most of the movie.

Probably the biggest reason to place Blood Red Sky in the horror genre pile would be the gore. There is a lot of blood and guts in the movie. Nothing out of the ordinary for a vampire movie. Tasteful probably isn’t the right word, but its not just blood for the sake of blood (Looking at you Blade). The point of the film is to keep you on the edge of your seat, not have you recoiling in disgust. This is a vampire thriller, not a vampire slasher.

The script and editing for the movie keep the tension high throughout. There are occasional breaks in the action to reveal more of Nadja and Elias’s lives before they board the plane. Even these scenes are filled with finger-biting tension, but it serves as a good action break for the main highjacking plot of the movie.

I watched the movie as an English dub. In retrospect that was probably a mistake. I don’t know if the voice acting was done by the same actors who delivered their German lines, but there were a few deliveries that were noticeably weaker than the others. The voice actors for Elias and Farid, a friendly passenger, are notably bad. Nadja and Berg, the leader of the highjackers were great. Nothing terribly unusual for dubbed animation performances, but something to be wary of. If I were to rewatch the movie I would do it in German with subtitles instead of with the English dub.

I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Red Sky. It was probably one of the best new movies I’ve seen this year and would remain that way even if this wasn’t such a weird year for cinema. If you like thrillers or vampires and can handle a lot of blood on screen, I’d recommend it. Like I said, it’s available on Netflix.

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 8

Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 7

Well armed, the Gish Trio and Tracy waited for the right time to strike. Tracy’s network of informants watched for when the Lich-queen was weakest. Their chance came after a battle between the githyanki and the blue dragons. The Lich-queen personally took part in the battle, expending a portion of her magical energy to secure victory. Tracy learned of the githyanki leader’s anemic state. The halfling hero and the Gish Trio immediately began their planned assault on the Lich-queen’s fortress outside Phoenix.

Even with her strength depleted the Lich-queen was a formidable foe surrounded by dozens of guards. Galandir and Blendegad occupied the guards while Tracy and Tereman confronted the Lich-queen with their banishment spell. The ancient Githyanki Matriarch fought without reservation, but in the end her will was denied. Tracy and Tereman banished her back to the Astral Plane. Their victory came at a cost though. As the Lich-queen departed she ripped Tracy’s soul from her body and consumed it. The Lich-queen would never return to Earth, but neither would Tracy.

The Gish Trio mourned Tracy’s death, but would not let her sacrifice be in vain. They rooted out every powerful githyanki in Cimmeria, forcing them to retreat to the Astral Plane or die. As they worked the Trio gathered more silver swords and alchemical components to further enhance their weapons and armor.

Continue reading

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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Characters of Cimmeria: Jevaninada II

Time to talk about the BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy), King Jevaninada II,  leader of the evil Xorians and first of the draconic vampire dragovinians.

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King Jevaninada II leads the Xorian people both as their monarch and as the living avatar of Blendegad’s divine might. Jevaninada II grew up under the feminist regency of his mother, Queen Anajakaze. Blendegad attacked and turned Jev into a dragovinian on the same night that he became King. Jevaninada spent twenty years undoing his mother’s reforms and spreading his condition to those he deemed worthy within Xoria. Over the last five years, King Jevaninada led an invasion into Eastern Cimmeria against the Second Alliance. Continue reading

Shalemstead

ShalemsteadShalemstead is a small town of 3,500 people along the eastern bank of the Isdmir River. The town is growing due to its proximity to the Elves of Valor’s Forest. The elves do not allow any non-fairy creature to stay in the forest, so they must find shelter in the Human settlement nearby or camp in the much less hospitable outdoors. Many of the citizens of Shalemstead have grown to rely on this tourism and their reputation for hospitality is well known throughout Cimmeria.

Shalemstead is self-sufficient and requires a lot of farmers to provide for its own citizens as well as the many tourist and trade caravans that pass through on the way to meet the Valor’s Forest Elves. The necessary professions in town are monopolized by guilds that are controlled by the descendants of the original settlers of Shalemstead. The guilds are named after their founding family member. All the blacksmiths belong to the Boris guild, all the innkeepers belong to the Shord guild, all the wainwrights belong to the Tama guild, etc.

The town’s government is solely composed of the guild leaders. This council of elders meets every three months to make important decisions for Shalemstead. They contribute all the funds for any necessary expenses such as paying guards, maintaining roads, or building bridges. These funds are in turn collected through guild dues, tariffs, and the personal profits that the guild leaders make on their own operations in town.

Many years ago the Shalemstead was attacked by a cabal of vampires. A fire started during the attack and dozens of people were injured or killed. The town’s only cleric at the time, George, also perished in the attack, but the small shrine he had built remained untouched by the flames. As the town has grown a new and larger temple was built. Regardless, many of the townsfolk continue to pay homage to the gods at this small shrine in George’s honor.

Shalemstead has joined the Second Alliance to fight the Xorians. The town cannot contribute much in the way of manpower, but their trade connections with the elves have proved valuable.

-GoCorral

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

Petar

Petar

Petar is home to about 110,000 people and is the seat of Xorian military power. The main contingent of Xoria’s army was stationed in Petar during peace time to prevent incursions from the nearby Magical Lands. The city is walled and has a large keep at the center if the outer fortifications are breached during an attack. In the case of a siege non-perishable food is stockpiled in the basement of the keep and a large staff of clerics and mages are kept in reserve to act as an infirmary and food creating service for the army and the civilians of the city.

The economy of Petar is heavily focused on supplying the army. All blacksmiths have a quota of goods they must sell to the army every month. The mages guild has so many students of battle magic that a few renegade war mages from the war mage academy in Greshen Dale have set up an illegal teaching outpost in the city. Druids in the city are coerced into using magic to enhance crop growth to feed the troops. Everybody who does not send some of their products to the Xorian military must serve a year service in the army every five years.

Almost all of the farms of Petar grow wheat and other staple crops. The military command wants all arable land to be used as best it can. A few fruits and vegetables are cultivated to provide a balanced diet for strong troops, but the populace is always complaining that there isn’t enough. Cattle and sheep are raised on the exhausted land to get wool, dairy, leather, and meat. The manure from all the animals refertilizes the tired land and every few years the grazing land will be switched with the farm land.

Petar is strategically located atop a hill in the middle of a wide plain. It is gossiped that this is the spot where Hades’ head hit the roof of Erebus when Zeus told him the conditions of his marriage to Persephone. Four months of companionship out of every year would seem ridiculous to any man, let alone an Olympian. The hill allows the Xorian army to see any approaching army for miles and gives them a defensible position once that attacking army is within bow range.

The government of Petar is headed by Duke Delor who is subordinate to King Jevaninada. The Duke does most of the administrative work and takes his orders from Commanding General Barejando when he is present in the city. Barejando is in charge of all Xorian infantry battalions on offense and defense and Petar’s police force. He is personally responsible for the defense and safety of Petar. The general has his hands full planning invasions, rooting out Persian, Rebel, and Cimmerian spies, and maintaining order. With so much to do it’s easy to see why Barejando leaves management of the civilian population of Petar to Delor.

Duke Delor is also the dragovinian religious leader in Petar. He manages the blood drinking ceremony every week in the city’s main cathedral. Delor personally created many of the dragovinian beasts that watch the people of Petar for any possibly seditious activity. In his free time he enjoys spying on the citizens, and if he’s lucky, ripping a suspected Rebel’s throat out. When Delor tours the city he always seems to find suspected rebels, and suspects are always found guilty.

One of the most amazing things in Petar that has most likely led to the rumor of Hades’ head bump is the extraordinarily large gold deposit beneath the hill. The gold vein was discovered many years ago by one of the kings of Xoria himself. While surveying the digging of one of Petar’s many wells the king’s sharp eyes picked out the glint of gold at the bottom of the well. That well has since turned into a mine shaft where most of the money of Xoria is minted and then taken to the current king, Jevaninada II.

-GoCorral