Author Topic: Campaigning in Arrylon  (Read 11485 times)

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Offline Tolen

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Campaigning in Arrylon
« on: October 05, 2010, 11:19:04 AM »
Campaigning in Arrylon
   The Arrylon setting lends itself well to many different kinds of RPG campaigns.  From short story arcs to globe-spanning conflict, all of it can be given a place.

Races of Arrylon
   Depending on the location of the current story, the majority of the characters, including PC's, will be human.  In places like Yolengrad, Dominara, and Byrintolis, most of the humans will be High Men.  Men of mixed blood are common throughout the rest of Amara, while rural countries like the Westmarch Territories will be predominately Common Men.
   The only other races commonly found everywhere would be the halflings and gnomes.  Halflings are common because they tended in the distant past to attach their bands to human communities.  When the men settled a place, so too did the halflings.  Gnomes are nearly as common because they are always curious, always learning, and developing new metalworking techniques.  As such, they travel a lot as merchants, both to sell their newest inventions and to purchase raw materials that they normally wouldn't be able to find in their mountain home of Durenor.
   Due to the historical animosity between Humans and Elves, Half-elves are a rarity.  Those that are encountered in the Northwest (the Amara-Audun region), never fully trusted.  At best, they are treated as outsiders.  At worst they are outcast half-breeds treated with open disdain.  It should be noted that in Elven lands, Half-Elves are killed on sight.  However, siring a half-elven child is a game among some of the nobles.  A game that demonstrates their superiority over humans.
   Dwarves are also common.  The Dwarven-Human alliance is one of the strongest of all. The land of Irenier forms a welcome and natural barrier against sea-borne invasion from the North. It was a dwarven army that held Tiberion's forces at bay, and it was a Dwarf that killed Tiberion himself. It is therefore not uncommon to find dwarves mingling with the human communities of Amara.  It is somewhat less common in the Audun Wastes.
   Though smaller in number, Bredelen dwarves fully embrace commerce with human lands.  However, it is rare to see Irenier dwarves and Bresdelen dwarves working together.  The schism that led to the Bredelen dwarves to leave and form their own collective stirs up strong emotions on both sides.
   Arrylon is also a world where anyone could be a changeling.  No one knows for certain what the changeling agenda might be, or whose side they are on.  Suspicion and paranoia greet anyone who suddenly starts acting contrary to their nature.  After all, there have already been two Grand Inquisitions to ferret out all of the changelings.  Could a third be on the way?
   Then there are the Unblessed and Ravenous.  Where do they come from?  As each Ravenous consumes magical energy, there is less left for everyone else. Moreover, these magical vampires seek out powerful magic users, draining them dry.  This is one of the reasons that magic is on the decline.  Perhaps this is the work of the Dark Lord? Of course, very few PC's will be Ravenous, but more and more people are being born as Unblessed.  If fewer people can use magic, then in the end, it will be the same as if the magic all vanished.  Can the gods still exist, if there is no magic left?
Professions in Arrylon
   Most NPC's in Arrylon are laymen.  Fishermen, farmers, and shepherds abound in rural areas.  Wheelwrights, metalsmiths, and artists gather in larger cities where their work can bring them money.  Within the cities, of course, are any number of militia-men, constables, rogues, bards, and bureaucrats, not to mention the various levels of nobility.
   Player characters, being unusual types, are a cut above the average man.  their fighting skills are often a match for any small militia patrol.  Or, if magic is their thing, they are among the privileged few.  They have power that the common man doesn't understand.
   This is not to say that magic is uncommon.  In fact, people who can afford to are happy to employ magic, if it makes life easier for them.  However, most folk have too much work of their own to devote their lives to learning how to manipulate Essence.
   Perhaps due to the preponderance of churches and shrines to the many various gods, Channeling spell users are the most common.  The churches are always eager to score new converts, and faith is well and actively rewarded.
   In short, all professions have representatives across the Northwest.

Campaign Styles
   Virtually any campaign style can be given a place in Arrylon.

Dungeon Crawls
   Dungeon crawls are the easiest to accomplish.The Audun Wastes, Bergren, the Westmarch Territories, and even Durenor, Bresdelen and Irenier are places full of dank, dark holes that contain remnants of long-lost civilizations.
   Dungeon crawls are less common in central Amara.  The cities are large, and the lands have been continually occupied for centuries.  However, the old Caladynian Empire left its bones deep below the modern cities.  They wait for enterprising parties to rediscover them.

Political Intrigue in the West
   In the Audun Wastelands, pioneering souls strive to eke a living from the land while the Destrier Elves of Medelliana continually raid and pillage.  Should open war again break out, it will be fought on the plains and in the forests of Audun.  therefore, both sides plot and scheme against one another.  Should the Audun Wastes fall, Bergren will bear the brunt of invasion.

Political Intrigue in the East
   In addition to the Human-Elven tensions, Amara is full of states with their own goals.  The Confederation seeks to solidify its power, and bring peace to all the lands.  But there are a few groups growing in power who would see the old ways of the Caladynian empire return.  Amara faces rebellion at every turn.
   Of course, on a smaller scale, each city state has its own internal conflicts as the nobility tries to outdo each other and place themselves in a position of more power.  And the more powerful the patron, the more lucrative the contracts that are awarded to the guilds.
   Let's not forget the guilds, either.  Entire campaigns could be built around the PC's trying to join a guild or being hired to bring it down.  Amara is perfect for any kind of urban campaign.

Military Action
   Campaigns can be politically motivated without the PC's being actively involved in any politics whatsoever.  Every state in the Confederation has its own military force, providing ample opportunity to roleplay as rank and file soldiers.  In addition, each state is required to send soldiers to to Yolengrad in times of need to contribute to the standing Confederation Army.
   In the Audun Wastes, forces patrol the Bandit's Road, the Ashewall, and the borders of Medelliana.  Each patrol provides different challenges and opponents.

Curran Lee and Tymbard's Keep
   This small but crucial port on the Giant's Causeway provides all of the above kinds of campaign wrapped into one region.  the Cuaseway Arms acts as the primary defense against invasion from the West, even as politics back home leave the Keep teetering on the edge of ruin.  Curran Lee is a hotbed of political intrigue, being too far from any center of control to be easily influenced.  As such, a lot of powerful people spend a lot of time trying to do just that.
The Undead
   Should the players want to face off against hordes of the undead, the PC's could be sent beyond the Ashewall.  No one knows for sure what they'll find there, but legends abound that the area is actually a gate to the underworld.

Further Abroad
   While the other continents are not as fully detailed as the Northwest, they also can provide interesting areas of adventure.
   To the South, the Murovai and the Fan-Chi Empire wage eternal war over the vast Savannah's.  the Murovai are fierce leopard-men who form territorial tribes led through brute force and fear, while the Fan-Chi are reminiscent of our own far Eastern cultures.
   Eastward lies Geadhealtad, a land heavily influenced by Celtic-style mythology.  It is an altogether more primitive but equally vibrant society always being tried by the forces of the Dark Elves of Seasnarbhal.
   To the Southest, even less is known about the lands of Goren, though it is believed that is where the changelings originally hailed from.  GM's can use that area as a blank slate to tell their own tales within the framework of Arrylon.
   There is even the Commonwealth of Free States, an orphaned Caladynian colony trying to eke out an existence among hostile forces.

An Elven Campaign
   In most cases, the Elves serve as villains.  their arrogance and sense of superiority over all others makes them difficult to get along with to say the least.  However, if you reverse the roles, and aloow the PC's to be elven, the players will suddenly find themselves in a world where all of their people believe they are better than everyone else and are destined to rule the world.
   The twelve houses struggle with one another for dominance in a long series of political maneuvers that rivals anything happening in Amara.  In addition, there remains the possibility that one of Tiberion's heirs be found, or even Tiberion himself could one day return from the Evertwilight.  They would attempt to rebuild House Tiberion and call all elves to a war to destroy humanity once and for all.  But how would they know it is Tiberion or his heir?  It could be a changeling after all...

Major Themes
   No matter which style of campaign you choose, there are two themes that will affect every story told in Arrylon.
   the first is technology versus magic.  thanks to gnomes and their natural inventiveness, more and more machines are being built every day.  Steam power and blackpowder are changing everything.  Wars are shorter and bloodier.  Work can be accomplished at breakneck pace.  Machines are expensive to set up, but once in place are far more reliable than magic.
   The number of magic users in Arrylon is dwindling.  Who needs a Cleric or Ranger to ensure a good harvest when automated planters allow larger fields to be planted more quickly?
   Even combat magic is in decline.  It takes years of dedication to learn how to manipulate the flow of Essence, but most people can be taught to fire a rifle in almost no time at all.  When anyone can kill from a distance, who needs mages?  Needless to say, most magic users turn their back on technology.  Very few attempt to combine the two.
   The other major theme is that of Azorel's Key.  Six powerful artifacts, which, when brought together, open either the gates of darkness or the doors of heaven.  Any one piece is an artifact of immense power and could serve as the basis of a campaign on its own.  But some elves strive to find the pieces and bring them together, to break the god's dominion over this world, and to set themselves as supreme rulers over all.  the next big war could very well be the last.
In Conclusion
   This overview should serve as an initial framework for GM's to create long-lasting and memorable campaigns that will be the topic of fond memories for years to come.
   Welcome to Arrylon.
I'm in Southern Illinois.
No, further than that...
Try South of Mt. Vernon, where Southern Illinois really begins.