Saturday, 23 July 2011

[Troubles & Treasures] Class Acts: The Archer


Prime Requisite: Dexterity
Key Skill: Physical, Subterfuge

At a moment's notice, the arrow is loosed from its string, flying true into the heart of its target. Another follows soon after, decorating the monster with protruding shafts. Before the beast has even had a chance to realise what's happening, it collapses like an overblown pincushion. The bowman moves swiftly through the clearing, vanishing back into the shadows.

This is the way of the archer. To strike swiftly from a distance, to blend with the shadows, to be on the enemy before they can even respond.

Play an archer if you want to...
  • Be one with your bow, not this namby-pamby nature shit.
  • Strike from the shadows, hit where it hurts, and pepper your foes with arrows.
  • Keep your distance from the enemy.

Class Features:

Sniper's Aim
When you spend a round aiming, roll a Dexterity attack against your target. If you hit, either they must move away from you, or your next attack against them is automatically a critical.

Rapid Volley
When you draw on your inner reserves of strength, you can fire a truly ridiculous amount of arrows. You can spend a healing surge to make an attack against every target in a 10ft radius.

Quick Draw
If your bow is nearby, you can have it in your hands with an arrow notched at a moment's notice.

Archer's Alarcity
Take +3 to Subterfuge or Physical, your choice.

Class Feats

Mounted Archer
When you fire arrows from horseback, take +1 to your attack roll if your mount is moving at full speed.

Two Birds
When you fire two arrows at one target, it counts as one attack at a -2 penalty, but you do double damage on a hit.

Weighty Pull
Add your Strength bonus to your bow's damage.

Shoot the Horizon
When you have a bow, you can shoot anything you can see with no range penalty.

Friday, 22 July 2011

[Troubles & Treasures] Class Acts: The Hoplite


Prime Requisite: Strength
Key Skill: Physical

Armed with spear, javelin, and sword, the hoplites of the Mynacean city-states contribute some of the most feared armies in the civilised world. With their heavy armor and shields, they can shrug off nearly any barrage, and be ready to strike back in force with javelins. Hoplites traditionally fight together, in a phalanx of free men, but some use their freedom to take up the life of a travelling adventurer, battling madness and hubris wherever it may arise.

Play a hoplite if you want to...
  • Defend your allies and your city with shield and spear.
  • Live as a free and honorable citizen-soldier of the Mynacean city-states.
  • Be equally dangerous in hand-to-hand and ranged combat.
Class Features

Phalanx Protector
When wielding a shield, you and any adjacent allies gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Javelin Hurler
When you hurl a javelin or spear, add both your Strength and Dexterity bonus to the attack and damage rolls.

You are not just a solider; you are a hero of Mynacea; perhaps an athlete, a philosopher, or an orator. Add +3 to one of Physical, Knowledge, or Communication, and +1 to the others.

Class Feats

We Will Fight In The Shade
When wielding a shield, you add an additional +1 to AC against ranged attacks, on top of your Phalanx Protector bonus.

Defenders of the Polis
When you stand in solemn defense of a city, town, or village, you will not die or collapse until you have suffered damage equal to twice your hit points.

Agon and Tragordia
When you challenge a foe to single combat and lose, you get experience points as if you had defeated them.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

[To Coin a World] The Tax Monks

One of the many orders of holy men that inhabit monasteries throughout the mountains of spindlewick, "The Tax Monks" is the name used by the populace to describe the Holy Order of the Civil Servants of the Universal Bureaucracy, a group dating back to when the Xing Empire ruled Spindlewick thousands of years ago. Civil service is a holy work to these high-trained monks, and they go on pilgrimages, pledging themselves to aid in maintaining some aspect of high civilization, often the delivery of letters, or the collection of taxes. Their Aetheric Auditor fighting style and iron sense of duty make them rightly feared by bandits and corrupt taxmen alike.

[To Coin a World] Orgosh Khal

Orgosh Khal

The very name strikes fear into the hearts of many a soldier or mercenary who has tried to scale its terrible walls. It strikes considerably less fear into the hearts of a considerably larger number of soldiers, who, having died trying to scale its walls, have considerably less to fear.

Great Orghosh Pass, in the Blackstone Mountains, is the only true gateway from the Worse Lands into Cisrhania and the wider Neuremanshreik. For centuries, it has been held shut against every army the Caesars of Waldorf have sent against it, guarded by the terrible black fortress of Orghosh Khal. It has ever been the weeping sore on the Imperium's fringe, leaking raiders, barbarians, and bandits into hubwards Cisrhania like pus.

The fortress itself is without equal in the near Spindlewick, with its black stone walls rising a hundred feet above the barren soil, guarded by spiked crenelations and a thousand murder holes. An immense wrought-iron gate holds the pass shut against men and beasts alike, only opening to disgorge horrors. From the outside, it betrays no weakness, no easy vulnerabilities. And yet it would have fallen a thousand times over were it not for the steeled might of its black-armored commander.

In the ancient Blackstone tongue, he called by the name Rekh Ardor Kin, the Man Without God. The men of the Empire know of him as the Antipaladin, he whom no god may touch. Beneath his gaze, no divine spark flutters; clerics call helplessly on their gods for aid as they are slaughtered by the dark armies at his command. Where some heinous villains are called soulless, the Antipaladin is something even worse. He transcends the demonic and the celestial; where the gods are the Alpha, he is the Omega.

It is not known from which dark void he sprang, or what terrible horrors lie in his past. All that is known is that a man clad in deep-black armour commands the gutterspawned legion of cursed mercenaries, black-hearted bandits, and manlike beasts that hold Orghosh Pass shut. For a century they have merely held open the pass at Orghosh Khal, allowing raiders and hordes from the Worse Lands to pour into civilized country while holding the pass tight against the Imperial Army when they seek retribution.

And yet now they are gathering strength for some unknown purpose. Beneath the steely gaze of the Antipaladin, a war-host is gathering on the Accursed Fields. From across the Worse Lands they come, gnolls and ogres and ratlings and rhinokin and a thousand other kinds of beast. The Imperial Reman League seems impossibly unprepared for an assault, as their princes and barons play at the game of crowns. If the Antipaladin's forces surge forth from Orgosh Path, all Spindlewick can hope for is a few brave heroes.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sucker Punched: Violence is Boring

The other day I finally got around to watching Sucker Punch, Zack Snyder's latest theatrical action extravaganza, and it was awful. This might not come as a shock to you, but it somewhat surprised me. Certainly, it was full of turgid dialogue, made for questionable gender politics, and had a paper-thin plot, but all these qualities were expected going in. It fails on a much more important level: it fails as an action movie, because it forgets that action isn't about violence, it's about adversity and conflict.

The explosive, genre-tastic, mook-filled action sequences at the heart of Sucker Punch left me bored shitless. It's not that I can't appreciate a good fight on screen; I'm a devoted fan of action and genre movies. To my eyes, a well-choreographed action sequence or battle scene can have all the expressiveness of a classical ballet. If a movie trailer is laced with giant robots battling dragons and explosions followed by cars crashing through plate glass, it's almost guaranteed to get my attention. Despite a budget sufficient to refloat the economy of a small Mediterranean nation, Sucker Punch entirely failed to win me over.

Fundamentally, the phantasmagorical action of the film fails because it is filled with violence while being utterly devoid of adversity. Over the course of four epic scenes, we see the female heroines battling an assortment of random mooks from the Hollywood genre archives, slicing into robots, orks, and clockwork zombies with equal enthusiasm. Yet we never once feel like they are threatened or in any real danger until they return to the grimy real world. There is no John McClane pulling glass shards out of his feet, or Biggs Darklighter getting blown out of the sky in the Death Star trench run, just wave after wave of easily dispatched enemies.

Not only do they fail to show any sort of danger, the action sequences also seem completely inconsequential to the film's main plot. One could strip them from the film and leave a no less coherent narrative. All stories are built from conflicts, internal or external, and each scene should contribute to the contextualisation, escalation or resolution of these conflicts. The turgid computer-generated battles don't serve any of these purposes; they merely serve to exhibit the skill of the cinematographers. You can't fault Snyder's CGI work or his choreography to explain why the scenes fall flat, because they fail on a much deeper level: they fail as scenes in a narrative. The director forgets that violence is boring; conflict and adversity drive stories.

To bring this back to gaming, I think this issue explains why many combat sequences in roleplaying games like D&D can seem lackluster. When there's no serious adversity or danger in the scene, it's hard for any sort of engagement to arise, even from a tactical level. Worse yet, scenes can fall flat when they don't serve to escalate or resolve conflicts. If the characters have nothing to win by defeating their opponents other than mechanical rewards like XP, the game becomes nothing more than a tactical murder simulator. This works only when the game's tactical situation is sufficiently interesting. If instead the characters have a real stake in the fight, if they must overcome adversity to achieve their goals, then the combat can become a real conflict.

Monday, 18 July 2011

[To Coin a World] The Disenchanted Forest

Spindlewick, the major hub-continent of the Coin, is covered in forests. Most of them are enchanted, and are positively lousy with fairies, unicorns, and other obnoxious and highly-magical beings. Against this magical backdrop, one region stands out - The Disenchanted Forest. The area is completely devoid of magic. Spells do not work under its eves, enchanted items are useless, and magical beings lose any magical powers and properties until they leave the wood.

Encounters in the Disenchanted Forest:
  • A completely normal, non-talking, non-mutated animal.
  • A rather confused lycanthrope that has become a completely normal man, at least temporarily. Probably looking for some clothes.
  • A group of wizards doing research on the area. Their spells don't work, so they're carying ridiculous amounts of armour and weaponry to compensate. They're very jumpy, because they can hear off in the distance...
  • A tyrannosaurus rex. It used to be a dragon. Now it's very stupid, and very angry.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

[To Coin a World] A Brief History of the Grand Reman League

The Fall of the Reman Empire

Reme at its height, 1559AUC

A thousand years ago, the known world, from Aratha to Soleille to Zwuyala, was ruled from the great city of Reme. From humble beginning as a city founded by twin orphans, Reme grew to become the largest city on the coin, its streets thronging with the press of a million citizens. Its legions and tribunes enforced a long era of peace and prosperity. Elven princes paid tribute to the Reman emperors, the first human rulers to be acknowledged on a more-or-less equal basis, and fought together with them in the War of the Lunar Frog and other great conflicts against evil. It seemed that, within the reach of Reme, the Coin's centennial cycle of great kingdoms rising only to be smashed by barbarians and black-hearted sorcerers had come to an end.

It was instead perhaps an interregnum. As peace reigned across Spindlewick, the Reman elites grew decadent and perverse, delving into the pursuit of obscene luxury. Taxes raised from the provinces that once paid the salary of the legionnaires now went straight to the banquet tables of senators and patricians. Border forts crumbled, the provinces went undefended, and the famous Reman roads fell into disrepair. Over the years, the Palace of the Ceasars was given over to a series of terrible Emperors, who alternated between mad, bad, and merely extremely corrupt. In 1889AUC, the Imperial family gave up on the whole game and decided to sell the entire Empire at open auction to the highest bidder.

This turned out to be not a very good idea.

The Not Very Light Ages

It was a bit shit all around, to be honest

In the chaos following the Leveraged Sell-Out, the remnants of the Empire collapsed as waves of barbarian invaders swarmed across the frontiers. Amongst them were the Bellagoths, a clan of female vampire-worshippers who would go on to establish the Republic of Orzovia, and the Ostremos, whose chieftain famously stopped at the gates of ruined Reme itself and declared it wasn't worth the effort of conquering. The elves retreated into their forests, the dwarves into their mountain halls. Spindlewick was plunged into an age of terror, decay, and barbarity.

In most of the former empire, this lead to several hundred years of petty kings, bandit chieftain, feudal squabbles, and general abuse of the peasantry. One remote province of the Empire, Cisrhania, was particularly devastated after the fall. As the Reman rule over the monstrous tribes of the Worse Lands collapsed, the dark sorcerer Morevac the Merciless gathered them together into an immense horde. In 1939AUC, his dark forces surged across the Rhâne river, and set the province alight from end to end. From his black tower of Rhâner Khal, Morevac consolidated his rule, condemning the province to oppression and darkness.

And thus it was, for more than five hundred years; enough time for the people of Spindlewick to forget the glories of the Reman Empire, and become accustomed to poverty, deprivation, and a general lack of joy. It would only be in the late 2400s, when a humble merchant from the tiny village of Waldorf-on-the-Rhâne fought off a tribe of goblin bandits in the Disenchanted Forest. Examining the corpses, the merchant, Astrid Kratzburg, was startled to discover that the straggly goblin bandits carried an immense amount of Reman jewelry, much marked with the paisley wreath of the Ceasars. When she followed the trail back to their makeshift camp, she was startled to discover that the original bearer bond granting dominion over the Reman Empire had been held within the hands of goblin bandits for the past three hundred years.

The Merchant Empress Rises

Astrid von Kratzburg, first Kaiserina of the Reunited Imperium

The young merchant had been a minor participant for some time in the underground resistance to Morevac's rule, and with this document, she saw the key to defeating him. With perhaps dubious legal grounding, but the best of intentions, she declared herself Empress of the Reman Empire, and set to gathering together a base of support. Her allies within the Cisrhanian underground were easy to convince; with the sale of much of the Reman crown jewels, she was even able to hire a reasonable number of mercenaries. A small army began to gather under her auspices on the outskirts of the Disenchanted Forest, but it would never be enough to defeat Morevac with his sorcerous supremacy and his monstrous allies. For that, she would need allies.

A plan was hatched. Years as a only somewhat honest merchant had given Astrid a keen eye for the credulous, and when Prince Relathio of the Dawnwind Elves came to her attention, she was ready for him. Relathio was a fine specimen of Elvish nobility; graceful, gallant, and about as gullible as a guppy. Using her newfound imperiousness, she convinced Relathio of the existence of an ancient treaty between the Reman Emperors and the Dawnwind Elves, promising martial assistance in times of need. Relathio and the Dawnwind Elves, who had in any case not particularly noticed the fall of the Reman Empire in the first place, gracefully acceded to assist.

With the support of the Dawnwind Elves guaranteed, nearby baronies flocked quickly to Astrid's banner. Haggling over the price of salted eels and spoiled eggs had given the new Empress better training in diplomacy than most noble academies, and she easily won the petty barons to her side with promises of autonomy within a new Imperial League. Even the burghers of Pyresburg were won to her side with trading concessions and fiery oratory. With her hard-won allies, the Empress was ready to free Cisrhania from the rule of Morevac.

A bickering collection of mercenaries, elven nobles, and petty militia would have been no match for the orcs, ogres, goblins, and monsters that made up Morevac's guards, let alone his mystic power. However, a Reman legion, led personally into battle by its Empress, turned out to be more than a match for the Shadow Over Cisrhania. In pitched battle upon the grassy fields before Waldorf-on-the-Rhâne, the League's forces shattered the armies of Morevac. Auxiliaries stormed his fortress of Rhâner Khal, freeing his tormented captives and destroying his obscene experiments. As he fled Cisrhania for Orghosh Pass and the Blackstone Mountains, Morevac himself was hunted down and captured by elven windrunners.

As Morevac hung from his noose in Waldorf's town square, Astrid Kratzburg, proclaimed the rebirth of the glorious Reman Empire; or to be more accurate, the birth of a new Imperium, more league than empire, more Cisrhanian than Reman, built not to service the needs of a single city but to protect the freedom of the many. And Waldorf-on-the-Rhâne, her home, the village held so long under the shadow of sorcerous rule, would be its new capital.

An Imperial Renaissance

The Rhânebridge at Waldorf

Under the rule of Empress Astrid, Waldorf would grow from a tiny thorp to a bustling burg, and her reborn Imperium would expand at a similar pace. Astrid established a framework that made it simple for baronies and petty kingdoms to join the league, without sacrificing any of their power. Kingdoms would become grand duchies within the league, with the right to send Electors to the Imperial College in Waldorf and choose the new Kaiser upon the death of the old. In return, they would gain trade concessions, open their borders to the elves, and membership in a pact of mutual protection. It was an appealing recipe, and it brought kingdoms into the new empire like seagulls to a picnic.

A new age of prosperity dawned in central Spindlewick. Merchants and pilgrims could freely travel the breadth of the Empire without concern for borders and tariffs. The elven forests were opened once more, and the dwarven holds reestablished their trade missions missions in the lowlands. Imperial levies held the dark tribes of the Worse Lands at bay, and even the raiders and pirates of the Friendly Sea kept to their hidden ports. A brief period of uncertainty reigned upon the death of Empress Astrid, but the confirmation as Kaiser of her son, Ulrich Remulus von Kratzburg, stilled any movements of discontent.

Ulrich proved just as capable a leader as his mother. In his reign, the wizarding academy of Phagemorts would be established to give the Imperium a sound source of sorcerous talent, and the first of many wars against against the Kingdom of Soleille would be fought and won. Later successors would establish a network of Imperial roads and canals, extend the reach of the Reman league to colonies in Zwuyala, Yonda, and further afield, and fight glorious wars against the enemies of the Grand Reman League.

Modernity and the Grand Reman League

A street-level view of modern Waldorf

Four hundred years after the death of the Empress Astrid, the empire she founded has lost none of its diversity and vibrancy, but perhaps it has lost most of the unity it once had. According to a commonly held saying, the Grand Reman League "is neither particularly grand, nor does it include the city of Reme within its borders, and is only a league in the sense of a grudgeball league, in that it is an excuse for its members to dress up in funny colours and beat the stuffing out of one another".

Its last real exhibition of unity was during the war against Soleille a hundred years ago, fought over the absorption of the crescent city of Languille as an Imperial electorate. The only wars that have been fought lately have been between duchies, not beyond the Empire's borders, and the current Emperor, Otto Herbert Kratzburg Franz von Sumpfkastell, also known as Otto the Useless, owes his election as much to the mutual hatred of the other candidates as it does to his delicate political marriage. Within the borders of the league, bandit chieftains and goblin tribes are becoming bolder than even before, attacking larger caravans and even small villages and baronies.

Still, the Grand Reman League is still the dynamic heart of Spindlewick; its workshops export manufactured goods to the entire continent, its finest sorcerers could match spells with any the Coin have to offer, its trading companies reach across oceans, and its distant colonies still pay heed and tribute to the motherland. As the Coin flips into a new age, it remains to be seen whether the future lies with the Ceasars of Waldorf, but it is almost certain that the pieces that make up the Reman League have important parts to play.

[To Coin a World] The Elves of Yonda and the Downunderdark

As mentioned in my previous post, wizards are a repressed minority in elvish society. But as John asked in the comments, why didn't they just rise up and overthrow their magically-powerless subjugators and declare the elf kingdoms and magocracy?

Well, a few generations ago (which, considering the elvish lifespan, means quite a long time by most standards) that's exactly what the wizards tried. At the time, there were even more elvish wizards than there are now... but they still failed. Elves are actually rather bad at wizardry, taking decades to master arcane arts that the rarer human wizard can master in a few years.

While the elf wizards could do a whole slew of things that the warriors they battled could not, they in turn could not do a few things that the warriors could. Like wear armour. Or fight with a sword when they ran out of power. Or jog up some steps without getting winded. Ultimately, the wizards lost.

The survivors of the attempted rebellion were rounded up, and banished to the mainland of Yonda. While Yendys is a tropical paradise, Yonda is a sun-blasted, high-background-magic wasteland, infested with spiders and snakes and all manner of other poisonous monsters. Many of the exiles died, and those that didn't were warped and twisted. Their pasty complexions, the result of years spent studying indoors were burnt, their hair bleached, their eyes constantly irradiated by the arid climate and harsh sunlight. The magic of the land coupled with the peculiar biology of the elvish people meant that their descendants have obsidian-black skin, white hair, and sinister red eyes to this day. The survivors, after the first few years, got so sick of their prison continent that they took the desperate measure of burrowing and escape tunnel. Under the ocean. While this utterly insane idea was probably the result of extended sunstroke, it actually worked. The crust of the Coin is shot through with vast carven networks stretching from the Hublands all the way out to the Rim, and the "Dark" elf rebels took to these caverns, and mostly haven't returned to the surface since, so strong is their loathing of sunlight. They now have vast underground kingdoms, ruled by the best wizards among them, and have a long-standing hatred of their surface kin.

So, in short... the dark elves of the Coin are Australian Convict Wizards.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

[To Coin a World] Wizards in Elvish Society

The Elves of the Coin have a peculiarly lopsided society. Most elves live in settlements hidden deep in the woods, or in the elvish city of Yendys, on its idyllic island off the coast of the hellish continent of Yonda. Apart from a few who act as scouts and rangers, patrolling the elvish borders and promising a swift and arrow-studded death to intruders, the vast majority of elves live relaxed lives that most human nobles would be envious of.

Which is a bit strange, considering that these elvish nobles have no peasant class to support this lifestyle. There are no farmers, goat-herds, bakers, plumbers, or carpenters among the elves (excepting certain individuals who take up such lives as hobbies or artforms). So how does elvish civilization function?

A wizard did it.

Or more accurately, a whole bunch of wizards do it every day with a host of spells designed to do away with the underclass workforce. As a result elvish wizards are in fact treated as an underclass themselves. In a society comprised of beautiful socialites and athletes, the bookish magi are shunned and ignored, unless some spell has failed and needs replacing.

Understandably, some elf wizards are less than happy about this, and leave. Many elvish adventurers are wizards primarily because of this. They might be considered ugly and "common" by elf standards, but to a human, any elf is beautiful, and wizards are people to be given respect (if you don't want to end up as some type of amphibian). To a lowly elf plumber-mage, the adventuring life is like a dream come true.

[OuterZone] Krazon Traditions & Superstitions

Spiritual Traditions

Muragh osh ku muragh dakh.
To strike first is to strike last.

A number of spiritual and philosophical traditions have arisen upon the Krazon homeworld of Nokhan in its five thousand years of civilised history, but only a few continue to capture adherence within the modern Empire. Perhaps most prominent are the spiritual teachings of Oblakh, the Sixfold Path. This was the faith of the Emperors who unified Nokhan, and continues to be the dominate spiritual tradition even now during the Korugh Regency.

The Sixfold Heart

Kraz kor ku durab, maz kraz hekh ku madish.
A brave heart is a strong one, but a sixfold heart is invulnerable

The name Krazon comes not from their word for people, or for world, or from the name of some ancient dynasty. It comes from the word krazonku, meaning one of the heart. In the Oblakh tradition, to be Krazon is to listen to the six spirits that dwell within the heart's ventricles.
  • Bokh, the spirit of duty and honour. Associations: Dirt, the colour red, the number one.
  • Kora, the spirit of bravery and strength. Associations: Stone, the colour orange, the number two.
  • Pazh, the spirit of ingenuity and wisdom. Associations: Wind, the colour yellow, the number three.
  • Mozha, the spirit of kindness and mercy. Associations: Water, the colour green, the number four.
  • Hoba, the spirit of friendship and humour. Associations: Ice, the colour cyan, the number five.
  • Mabh, the spirit of trickery and selfishness. Associations: Lightning, the colour blue, the number six.
It is common, although theologically incorrect, for Krazon to speak of the spirits as if they were personified individuals. "By Bokh's beard!" and "By Mabh's mace!" are colloquial expressions that express surprise or anger, invoking the names of the spirits or krazald.

The Sixfold Heart is also reflected in the six castes of ancient Krazon society:
  • The Bokhan, the farmers and workers.
  • The Koroz, the warriors and nobles.
  • The Pazhan, the priests and holy men.
  • The Mozhon, the healers and servants.
  • The Hoban, the merchants and innkeepers.
  • The Mabhan, the unclean and criminals. Foreigners, non-followers of Oblakh, and non-Krazon are traditionally included in this caste.
In modern Krazon society, caste is more a cultural marker than one of occupation. Indeed, nowadays the majority of Krazon merchants and industrialists belong to the Pazhan caste. Since the abolition of the Warrior's Privilege under the current Regency, caste is officially meaningless, but still carries vast weight in society. Impoverished Mabhan can still expect oppression and disdain from high-caste Krazon.

Blood Quest

Lokh tar ogar, kraz muragha durgad.
Through blood and storm, a warrior's heart is forged.

Where other societies might see fit to challenge their youth with a dangerous ritual at the transition to adulthood, Krazon culture demands sacrifice at every turn. It is traditional for any Krazon who achieves a major milestone to undertake a lokh saba, or blood quest; one equal in difficulty to the challenges they are expected to face in their new life.

A blood quest may take many forms, depending on the milestone to be achieved. All, however, involve blood, violence, and suffering. A few examples:
  • To prove their worthiness for motherhood, pregnant Krazon females must hunt and kill a mother kroggar by hand before their child is born. If they fail, both they and the child will be declared Mabhan.
  • In preparation for marriage, a Krazon groom must first defend himself against the sequential murder attempts of his father-in-law, his mother-in-law, and finally his bride-to-be, before embarking on a vision quest into the deep desert to seek wisdom and patience.
  • To join the Imperial admiralty, a Krazon war-captain is expected to wrestle a sea monster known as the Orxan; a fierce, many-tentacled creature that lurks in the deep crevasses of Nokhan.
  • A Krazon male is not considered of age until he can best his oldest male relative in single combat.
Since the installation of the Korugh Regency, many of these traditional blood quests have been abolished or even banned. Positions in the Imperial bureaucracy no longer demand ritual combat; instead, a simple competitive examination suffices to prove one's competence. Still, cultural change is slow, and the Krazon military continues to unofficially maintain its traditions.

Common Superstitions

Muragha morvad tar glash.
A warrior dies with his blade.
Kroggar hekh ku kraz, zed darvad mudh.
Six kroggar make a heart, seven destroy a world.
Dobru kara taron lronad lokh ku aksar darv.
To cross water without spilling blood is to invite disaster.
Ruad murkurad ku zalt Mabh, ruad daklarad glash Bokh.
A whispered promise is Mabh's mace, a bellowed oath is Bokh's blade.