Friday, November 2, 2012


So, monsters. Outside of a few varieties, The Known World doesn't have any. It is a pretty well conquered and explored continent, but after 10,000 years or so of habitation something somewhere should have gone right for the races of the continent. In the first chunk of the Vanden role-playing emails, Vanden kind of goes into a rant about monsters and why the fuck should we be afraid of them? He brings up sorcery and Fell Humans as a prime example.

The Known World is a weird place full of weird races. Magic is unreliable and prone to mishaps that cause all kinds of disasters, I keep saying this, but I feel like people don't get it. I'm not sure why. I guess because Eric keeps playing spellcasters and because I don't give them magic items that explode in their faces. Oh well. Maybe I should increase the unreliability of spells in The Known World.

So we have the Soulless, Fallen, and Fell Humans. Three of the weirder more monstrous races. They're not weird like orcs are weird in comparison to humans, they're weird monstrous weird. The Fallen are a race of sentient zombies, liches, and vampires. They are actual monster monsters. The Soulless are basically undead golems covered in jagged blades and spikes of rusty, bloodstained metal. Fell Humans are a race of creatures that can litterally have blood made of fire or acid.

Toning it down a notch, we have the Children of Volung, the Vyanth, and the Sereth. The Children are a race of anger and bloodshed, they are living violence. Living rage. Their ribs are basically a slab of bone plates and they have shark eyes. The Vyanth and Sereth are just fucking weird looking, everything about them is almost kind of normal and human, but not. On the weirder side of this lower notch, the Dwenoren have no eyes and have moist skin the color of a grub. They also "see" with their beards. Meanwhile, the Eldumans are made of crystal (and descended from psionic crystal pine trees).

All these bizarre races live on a continent where sorcery just does stuff that it shouldn't. A place where using sorcery can leave you with a tail or extra eyes or weird bendy arms. A place where cities can be grown out of living obsidian that grows but never grows in a way that indicates the city was meant for humanoid habitation with all the angles and doorways slightly off or uncomfortably sized. A place where people have to fear packs of wolves and flocks of carnivorous birds that are literally joined at the hip to one another.

What I am saying is that The Known World is a fucked up place. What I am saying is that the appropriate response to creatures of living fire and empires of undead living a few miles underground where light doesn't work right should be "Oh, how quaint." and then you kill the fuck out of them with guns.

I also feel like Lance as Eran has misjudged the fellow citizens of his country. Yes. Pirates of Haven are pirates. They're loud and love grog and whoring and gambling. They have the appearance of the cliche. Now, Haven was founded roughly fifteen years ago, not by thieves and robbers, but by veterans of The Old Empire's navy. Basically, a fleet of immortal Psion/Monks decided they were sick of taking orders from a bunch of guys living in crystal towers in a crystal desert and decided that they wanted to engage in more profitable excursions that didn't involve sitting in a crystal desert thinking for eternity. Seven of the nine captains of the armada that deserted still rule the country of Haven. In my opinion, it would be foolish to assume that these captains just let the forces under their command, whether Elduman or not, do whatever they want whenever they want and basically act like clumsy drunken buffoons when raiding. It has been my experience with the few military friends I have that leave time discipline (or the EXTREME lack thereof) is not a strong indicator of on duty discipline. I have designed the nation of Haven with this theory strongly in my mind. 

I dunno, it just strikes me as funny I guess. Last campaign, they fought a giant shadow monster that wants to eat all life on the planet and found out they were clones of their characters from the previous campaign and their real PCs were now horribly broken mutant things trapped in agony in glass tanks being experimented on to build a clone army. The campaign before that, they went underground and fought a mutant dragon without blinking. This campaign though, skeletons?! Demons?! What the fuck are we going to do?! 

Maybe I'm just jaded. 


  1. Well it seems like you have a few beasties in underhel (sp?).

    I will say that when you phrase them as pirates ... on land the sense of militaristic order goes out the door. Think of what happens when sailors get into port. Then put them in a new world. I just see them being rum soaked until ordered out to sea again. I don't see any sense of order from the captains to conquor this land ... or why haven't they progressed further if they're that powerful and have control over their troops?

    1. Sailors don't need to be out to sea in order to snap into discipline. On and off duty are two completely different worlds.

      If properly trained, a sailor (or any military member for that matter) can mentally flip a switch and go right back into professional mode. It isn't something you can really control either. It's part of that brainwashing that happens to you along the way to becoming a part of the culture.

      My assumption has been that they haven't been really ready to move on with their master plan just yet. We are about to see the next step in game terms with the militia being called up like we were.

    2. Yeah, what Jason said.

      You're exactly right Jason. The pirates have been in Orcunraytrel for roughly four years, they've been shipping in more pirates and more materiel while building up their settlements, while also letting their lower ranks run roughshod all over the place with only a few restrictions on behavior. This has kept them looking fairly ineffective and doesn't piss any one nation off to the point where they feel they need to exterminate them, which still allowing them to cause a bit of trouble. I dunno, is it perfect? Probably not, but that is what's going on.