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 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 33

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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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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 6

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Before entering her slumber Shratalanda used her psychic powers to telepath the location of the Shacklack School of Psions to all the psions of Cimmeria. Many of them answered the call, but with Shratalanda gone the School changed. Shratalanda led a place of pure learning and study. Her older students abandoned the free thinking and open experimentation encouraged by their absent master in favor of hierarchy and ritual. When the Gish Trio arrived they hoped the urgency of their quest would earn them immediate access to Shratalanda’s notes. The new masters of the Shacklack School had other ideas.

To gain access to Shratalanda’s texts Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad would have to prove themselves worthy. They underwent a trial of the mind, body, and soul. Working together they overcame the challenge. With their virtue proven the masters of the school allowed the Gish Trio to view Shratalanda’s research notes.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 3

Harssafs look like sand demon people

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The Blue Dragon Cult had gotten closer and closer to the Blue Dragon Orb in the years since it was sealed away. They knew it was in the Shacklack Desert. They even knew which region of the desert, but that region belonged to the harssaf people who violently repelled any intrusion.

The githyanki provided the power the Blue Dragon Cult needed to reach the Orb’s resting place. The Lich-queen sent her best troops, the sarath, to assist in the Blue Dragon Orb’s extraction. They cut through the harssaf warriors with ease and reached the dungeon containing the Orb. Powerful magical defenses prevented the sarath from safely penetrating the dungeon. Rather than risk their own lives, the sarath sent members of the Blue Dragon Cult ahead to their grisly deaths. With this trial and error method the githyanki reached the inner sanctum of the dungeon. There the sarath defeated the plant and golem defenders placed by Bigby and Tentineh. With that, only one barrier stood between the villains and the Dragon Orb, Bavastatner, the blue dragon patriarch set by Tentineh to guard the Blue Orb.

Bavastatner tore through the githyanki sarath, killing many and forcing the others to retreat. They reported their failure to the Lich-queen. She sent one of her most powerful servants, an adlishar, to capture the Blue Orb. The adlishar entered the minds of the surviving sarath to study their battle with Bavastatner. He determined that the dragon was beyond his ability to defeat. Instead of fighting it, the adlishar stole the Orb and teleported away. The Orb would not be safe for long though. Bavastatner had a powerful connection to the Orb’s magic and could sense its location. The githyanki and the Blue Dragon Cult would have to act fast in their plan to destroy the Blue Orb.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 2

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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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Cimmerian Timeline Part 32

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841BCE: A group of humans, elves, and halflings settled a small village at a river junction in the Aractrashan Jungle. It was an important trading post for hunters and traders. Many visitors stayed at the village inn, the Inn of Lost Souls. The village was named Satronwook.

820BCE: Dionysus and Pan began their parade tour of the Caspian starting at the Persian trade post of Baku. They traveled northward, keeping the Sea on their right.

816BCE: Dionysus and Pan arrived at Satronwook. Dionysus created the famous alcohol fountain and the pair founded the drinking contest that now decides the leadership of Satronwook. The first winner was a halfling woman, Baradera, who the contest is named after. Dionysus crowned her and turned her into a magically intelligent panda. He gave Panda Baradera the command of a pack of blink dogs to enforce her decree for a single year until the drinking contest was held again.

815BCE: The Baradera of Satronwook crowned a new Panda, but Baradera was shocked to learn that she would not be transforming back into a halfling. Her true form would forever be that of a talking panda. The blink dogs served the new Panda, enforcing her decrees and those of all previous Pandas.
The novelty of Satronwook’s leadership and alcohol fountain attracted many people to the village and it grew into a sizable trading town.

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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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Cimmerian Timeline Part 31

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761BCE: Lord Bjorn of Dalleer died of old age. Bjorn’s son did not succeed him. Instead, Ballath, a wise, human friend of Bjorn’s, assumed the lordship. Bjorn’s family was outraged. Ballath took Bjorn’s name as a title in a failed attempt to keep the peace, but he refused to surrender control.

759BCE: Bjorn’s children moved to Jord. Most of Dalleer’s dwarven population followed.

737BCE: Bjorn Ballath of Dalleer died of old age. Like his successor before him, Ballath overlooked his children in favor of an experienced friend, Skizofren.

736BCE: Bjorn Skizofren began to drink heavily after Ballath’s death. He started drafting insanely foolish laws while drunk and he was always drunk. Ballath’s heirs attempted to correct Skizofren’s decisions, but the Bjorn seemed unnaturally skilled at political manuevering.

735BCE: Bjorn Skizofren insulted Ballath’s family. Frustrated with the Bjorn, the children of Ballath left Dalleer. They traveled downriver and founded Bradel Fields near the mouth of the Black River.

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Cimmerian Timeline Part 30

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883BCE: Many of the Naturalists of Bigby’s Forest elected to take over the trading post at Semanarie. They set up a druidic enclave there that preached naturalism and separation from civilized society. Most of the buildings were knocked down and the residents slept outside, protected by the druids’ magic.
The Naturalists who did not settle in Semanarie set out to find a new location for their community. They traveled eastward along the Caspian Sea, collecting followers along the way.

882BCE: After Semanarie became a druidic commune it could no longer serve as the trade post for Bigby’s Forest. An enterprising halfling merchant, Glospiel, set up a trading post, but not on the forest’s edge as one might expect. He laid the foundations for a town on the Caspian coast. Glospiel named his city after the halfling word for sea spray, Makotako.

881BCE: Condrofalspeth, a descendant of Sadroston, gathered people to resettle Jeutontic.

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