Humanoids from the Deep (Roger Corman Cult Classics).

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From the Pleasant Diversion Dept., I thought I’d take a break from the relentless pace of my D&D campaign posts and kick back for a bit, while also reminded of a piece I’d been remiss to write for some time now. Shout! Factory‘s series of Roger Corman’s films from the late ’70s and early ’80s (which I first mentioned here ) have been a well to which I’ve returned several times, bringing back memories of those first films seen on late-night excursions into the premium cable abyss. Before the likes of Humanoids from the Deep, my tender eyes had never witnessed such nudity, violence or gratuitous Doug McClure (well, not since the Amicus and EMI pics he’d done, loosely based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs such as At the Earth’s Core, The People That Time Forgot and Warlords of Atlantis).

For the unwashed (no obvious pun intended), Humanoids is at its heart a tale of both economic and evolutionary turmoil. The populace of Noyo, California make their living from the sea, which has of late been less than giving. The town wants to have a cannery to ensure stable work conditions for its residents, and cooperation with a corporation called Canco (not to be confused with their derivitive entities Bottleco or Boxco) seems to be the answer to their prayers. In addition, Canco and Dr. Susan Drake (played by perennial ’70s tough-chick Ann Turkel, who’s nonetheless referred to as a “great little scientist” by the town’s mayor) have introduced an experimental growth hormone into the local waters to likewise ensure plenty of fish.

Of course, we wouldn’t have a Corman movie if all this didn’t go to batshit. Turns out the genetically-altered sea life have been on the menu for a long-forgotten strain of coelacanth, or prehistoric fish. In doing so, they’ve taken full benefit of the situation and managed to become the aforementioned humanoid beasts. As the original hormone was based on that of frogs, these monsters have gone amphibious and started taking to the land. After first trying out the local canines (with disastrous results, just ask local fisherman hero Jim Hill (McClure) about his dog), the humanoids find their next evolutionary partners with human females. If this isn’t quality entertainment, I don’t know what is.

Almost as fascinating as this initial concept is the history of the film, which is quite bi-polar. Initially entitled Beneath the Darkness and helmed by Barbara Peeters, the production attracted the required level of star-power (which includes the late great Vic Morrow as local heavy Hank Slattery) and included what could be considered “principal photography”. This is due to the fact that when Corman saw the finished product, he was dismayed by the lack of female nudity. It turned out that Peeters, while sparing no expense of film when it came to the gruesome demise of male characters, often reverted to portraying those of the female characters offscreen. As a result, the producer had another, separate crew shoot additional scenes, with the specific purpose of adding a good dose of simulated rape, as well as comedic sex scenes (featuring ventriloquist David Strassman and “Chuck Wood”) and nude body doubles for those actresses who declined to shed their clothes during the initial shoot. It was this film that took the title Humanoids from the Deep, or simply MONSTER in some venues.

If that wasn’t impressive enough for one of Corman’s tightly-funded affairs, he also managed to get the likes of Rob Bottin (who basically re-defined what was possible with practical effects with John Carpenter’s The Thing) and Chris Walas (whose work has run the gamut from those adorable Gremlins to the uber-disturbing Brundlefly in Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly) to design our favorite land-walking fishmen and their more unfortunate victims. Mind you, this was early in careers, when both were eager to work for next to nothing (knowing Corman’s history, it was more likely closer to nothing). Nonetheless, their work is effective and imaginative, especially when paired with editor Mark Goldblatt’s skill at making us think that three guys in humanoid suits were actually hordes of such baddies terrorizing Noyo’s annual festival parade. Throw in a sensitive, moving score from none other than James Horner (who would go on to supply the music for Braveheart and “Big Jim” Cameron’s Titanic, although his Krull score will always be my personal fave), and you’ve got one of the more quality products from the era (which seemed to begin after 1979’s Alien, and continued until such low-budget affairs were given the blank checkbook treatment once the likes of Schwartzenegger and Stallone were involved).

No, this isn’t a review. I’ve decided to not slap numeric values on films anymore, but rather to bring forth what I feel is awesome and (by some amount of perspective) not so great about them. Am I a fan of Humanoids of the Deep? Hell yes, even though it is something of a guilty pleasure of sorts. It’s the stunted stepchild of the more forward-thinking horrors and the exploitative drive-in features of years past, but a unique blend of unintentional humor and “mature content” which will always appeal to me. If that sort of thing even makes you curious, you should by all means check it out.

Sandbox “Hooks” (Cont.).

A few more scraps of adventure for the prospective visitors to Eurychra, and more map changes. The western coastal mountains have been named as the Strandrifts, as well as other changes which will be detailed in the coming installments. But for now, three more realms (including the one from which the players will start their adventures) have been detailed. And yes, I’ve finally figured out bullet points (yay, me).

ANDLACHEN (As mentioned before, this is where the players will begin, and I consciously tried to focus on lower-level scenarios. While not all that original, I think they can serve as effective stepping-stones to greater glories).

  • Shaina Caneduin, wife of the local Merchant Guildmaster, has been abducted to the ruined fortress of Hillsedge and held for ransom.
  •  Old Boaz, proprietor of the Crook and Horn Tavern, wishes to expand his wine cellar due to increasing business. However, construction has revealed a cave system, possibly connected to the Knollands (kudos to Andrew Goldschmidt for this idea).
  • The players are contacted by Lalianthia Arbadam, the local Thieves’ Guildmistress. She explains to them that the position of the Guild is to minimize crime within the city, a process which eliminates any “variables” outside the given order of things. The prime source of most “variables” is Andlachen’s undercity, which is primarily made up of its sewer system and connections to the surface. Unsavory as it may be, such incursions are necessary for the city to properly function, and since most of her associates are not overly fond of them, she is always on the lookout for prospective talent. In return, the players can have whatever treasures they find, in addition to unswerving protection from the Guild in any future event.

COR ARBIRROS (These points should only be accessed by players who have won the trust of the prickly Hyleni, due to some service, or one of the characters having a loyal background).

  • A relic has been stolen from a mausoleum in the Bax Thymea, an object of great worth and power. The players have been assembled by the Nomic clergy in Dom Canal to ensure its return.
  • The people of Cheranoth are up in arms, for several young Hylenas have apparently been abducted by the Witch of Wringwood, who sacrifices them to give her eternal life.
  • Some foul presence has descended from the southern reach of the Strandrift Mountains, and made its lair in the former hold of Makolon. Even Lord Bathastus sees this as a threat to his realm, as the evil seems to be targeting the farmlands of Akradys, and the hard-working folk who dwell there.

LENDALAR (While short on detail, these adventures lead to greater mysteries, those involving the Dread Mountains, and the tragic history of the dwarves).

  • The great goblin-killer Skatha Ugghagar has gone missing after investigating a newly found cave system.
  • A Lendalarian merchant caravan has been lost en route to the vale-elven capital of Krimnach — across the Dread Mountains.
  • The prelate of the recently founded Church of Andhrama has gone missing, and its temple desecrated, with runes reading “NEVER AGAIN” scrawled across its shrine.

Only three more realms left to detail, and then onward to the next step of sandbox creation. I know I’m looking forward to it ;D

Sandbox Campaign Update.

I should’ve realized a few posts ago to drop the whole “OD&D” bit, seeing as how I’ve decided on 5th edition D&D as the given ruleset (we’ll be getting into it more later, as prominent NPCs, or non-player characters come into view). Anyways, as promised, I’ve been working on creating a few encounters (although they’ve turned out to be more like story “hooks” upon which the players can possibly progress into an encounter area, or series of encounters) for each major region of Eurychra. It’s actually been harder than I thought it’d be, and I’ve looked online to a number of sources (credit given to them by entry) for help and inspiration. Granted, the list is still incomplete — but as always, this is an ongoing process. Note also the inclusion of the town of Edorast in Harwald (yes, the map has been updated, and I’ll have it up again soon).

HARWALD. While obviously the Harrow-moors and its denizens are at the heart of their troubles, the northmen of Harwald have a number of other crises that prospective heroes may be able to solve.

  • The Jarl of Cressland bids the players to defeat a flock of griffons, who are trained by the hill giants of the Knollands to steal their horses and cattle.
  • A horde of goblin-folk from the Knollands have overtaken the ruined fortress of Hillsedge, but due to their ongoing battle against the denizens of the Harrow-moors, the Harwaldian army needs assistance in dispatching them.
  • The huntsmen of Edorast are seeking a new prey — snake-cultists from the Bleak Hills. According to the mayor, what few women and children dwelling there are being abducted by the cult for blood sacrifices.

UDAN. Far from being the final word this most influential kingdom (certainly not that on the White City of Eburelon), here are the first few notes I’ve managed thus far.

  • The Earl of Balcagost has been accosted as of late by farmers who have complained of a great upheaval, and what appear to be anthills or termite mounds the size of watchtowers (kudos to DeeCee at forum.rpg.net for this idea).
  • The owner of the The Raven’s Nest, one of the more popular inns in Eburelon’s merchant quarter, surreptitiously contacts the players to hopefully solve an “issue”: his clients are turning up dead overnight.
  • A mysterious robed figure interrupts the players’ meal at The Wyvern’s Wing, a preeminent tavern in Magdal-Ayin. He identifies himself as the Archdruid of Rivelwood, and claims that an ogre from the Hinder Peaks disturbed a crucial ritual, and demands that either the ogre be found as a blood sacrifice in atonement, or one of the city’s watchmen, who are in charge patrolling the mountain perimeter (kudos to Altorin at The Escapist forums for this idea).
  • The notorious bandit leader Johan Bly has managed to escape imprisonment in Malacath, and is rumored to have taken refuge in the ruins of Bad Galeth.

Again, you can see a number of NPCs shaping up in these scenarios, which is really exciting for me (I can’t wait to have a “rogue’s gallery” of “hall of heroes” series, with thorough descriptions, stat blocks and illustrations), but for the time being I’ll continue to sketch out more adventuring ideas for the remaining areas.

Let’s Make An OD&D Sandbox Campaign (Part Five).

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Yiss. A big, shiny new map of Eurychra, finally done between bouts of Wasteland Workshop inspired play of Fallout 4. The aforementioned changes to the map mentioned in the “tour” overview are here, plus I finally named all the rivers in the area. Looking at Rob Conley’s “How To Make A Fantasy Sandbox” I’m down to part part 22, where I come up with plots connecting two or more locales together. While I have already written these, I’m keeping them to myself for the time being — but honestly, anyone who has read the overview material could easily figure most of them out. This leads to part 23, creating three to five single sentence encounters for each locale. I’ll probably serialize each of these by area in oncoming posts, provided Fallout 4 loosens its grasp (and the re-vamped survival mode doesn’t drop anytime soon).

Sandbox Campaign Update.

While still working on the new map, I began hashing out some details about the character races of Eurychra. While detailing their combined histories, some wrinkles appeared in the overall mesh. For instance, not all the races will be available for players, as their histories are withdrawn from common lore (such as the mysterious people of Amoq, or the Urani, or high-elves) or have practiced a insular existence throughout their history (as the men of Gildur, or the Nereni, or sea-elves of Hesperia). After these initial bouts of brainstorming and doing a good deal of research, I also decided on using the 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons rules for the campaign. I found the current span of character classes and options for them in particular impressed me, and I’m pleased to say that while the choices in race have become even more limited, the playable races will be able to encompass almost every sort of class available.

While I won’t submit the entire writing, since it was make for a overly long and dull post, I will paste in a bit of it here:

The Hyleni are said by most outsiders to be cold and distant, but while they do not eschew emotion altogether, due to the teachings of the god Nomus the Law-giver they hold logic and reason in highest regard. They are great sages, legists and politicians. The Hylenic language was the basis of all Elven tongues and their accounts of pre-history and history are held in highest regard by all races. The Hylenes (wood-elven males), are seen as the “roots” of society, while the Hylenas (females) are the supporting “branches”, providing the “fruits” of future generations. Thus males dominate both the government and social order of Cor Arbirros, with the females mainly organizing affairs among themselves and those of their children. The wood-elves have umber to red hair, with pale to olive skin and green to hazel eyes. Hylenic characters lend their backgrounds to wizardry, the ranger Hunter archetype, Battle Master fighters with archery backgrounds, and Nomic paladins or clerics with a balance of Life and War domain spells. Note that such professions would be limited to male characters, seeing as how any females who seek predominant positions outside Hylenic society (but not necessarily the Nomic clergy) would be shunned.

This sort of stuff will be revised and edited later, for sure, but for now had provided me was a great deal of inspiration as to what political conflicts are present, as well to more than a few scenario ideas. So for now, the map is on the way, plus more examples as to how the world is shaping up…

 

 

 

Let’s Make An OD&D Sandbox Campaign (Part Four).

While the last post covered the more organized areas of Eurychra, this time let’s look at those other areas where the wild things are — lairs. Again, this is a loose term, as some of these areas are as populated as the ones mentioned before, but are either so often in flux or simply unknown to the peoples of the continent that they have been relegated to an inferior social status. Tread lightly, in other words, for here be monsters…

BAD GALETH (Ked. “dividing wall”). Ancient ruin long ago held by Jehar the Usurper against the kingdom of Eburelon (q.v.). Although eventually sacked by the combined might of Kedanian and Khadathian forces, the cruel magics forced into being by Jehar’s wizard Golgamed are rumored to still seek some life in the dungeons far beneath the castle’s remains.

BLEAK HILLS. Broken lands among the Cilegan River (q.v.), south of Harwald and the Harrow-moors (qq.v.). Lair for a mysterious cult who have invaded both Harwald and Udan (qq.v.) in the past.

DREAD MOUNTAINS. Range reaching up along the eastern reaches of Amoq (q.v.), separating it from the dwarven kingdoms of Lendalar and Brunheath (qq.v.) to its south. The Oroi Gargaros, as they are known in the Hylenic tongue, have a long and fearsome history, truly earning their name. Fire-giant keeps built around volcanic peaks and dragon hoards deep within massive fissures have been told to exist, amid all other sorts of horrors.

HARROW-MOORS. A fearsome wetland filled with all sorts of dread creatures, rumored to be controlled by an ancient beast known by the people of Harwald (q.v.) as Blindnath the Dark Serpent.

HINDER PEAKS. The Oroi Anthistas, as they are known to Hylenic scholars, reach along the eastern borders of Udan (q.v.), barring it from the arid plains of Amoq (q.v.), further east. While many fearsome beasts predominate the area, the presence of a long-standing tribe of stone-giants offer a suitable, if unintended, ally to the free-peoples.

KNOLLANDS. Great expanse of broken land lying north between the kingdoms of Cor Arbirros and Harwald (qq.v.). The realm is not unlike the others, with rulers and subordinates governing those beneath them — but to a much more violent and chaotic degree. Tribes of orcs, gnolls and goblin-folk are harried by ogres and hill-giants, resulting in either periods of servitude or open war. The former states are those most dangerous to the outlying kingdoms, for often a given leader will have such delusions of grandeur as to attempt an invasion. While such strikes are typically resisted, they are not without great losses. When war breaks out among the denizens of the Knollands, the losses are greater still, and the rugged fortress of Stonewall (q.v.) ends up occupied by yet another regime.

MURKMIRE. Spawling wetland in the southwest, south of Cor Arbirros (q.v.) and west of Khadath (q.v.), created by the River Pelagrus (q.v.) to its northeast, and the Rivers Dythrea and Kylophis (qq.v.). Like the Harrow-moors (q.v.) to its north, the Murkmire is realm of ill-repute, if not more so. It is best known as the lair of the largest known tribe of lizard-men, who have been known to militarize and launch attacks against their neighboring realms. Whether these attacks have been to gain knowledge of their enemies’ defenses or to simply ward off possible invaders is unknown. As of late, the reptilian horde has been rumored to be directed by whatever force has taken residence in Castle Quag, the bleak fortress erected at the center of the Murkmire.

RIVELWOOD. Large expanse of woodland, south of the Bleak Hills (q.v.), set between the Andlang and Cilegan Rivers (qq.v.). It neighbors the northernmost province of Udan (q.v.), Magdal-Ayin (q.v.), where patrols often watch its borders. The Rivelwood is known to be haunted forest, the dark heart of which can be found in the depths of the Rivelwood Caverns.

SPURWOOD. Small forest east of the Bleak Hills (q.v.). Known mostly for the Spurwood Hole, a cave with a mysterious history.

STONEWALL. Rugged stone fortress which has become a permanent fixture in the northern Knollands (q.v.). It is more often than not occupied by the tribes of hill-giants and ogres that are in constant war against each other in the region.

WRINGWOOD. Vine-filled forest surrounding the northern Murkmire (q.v.). Most relate to the Wringwood less than a place and more like some tendrilous beast which devours all who enter its borders.

 

Let’s Make An OD&D Sandbox Campaign (Part Three).

At this point, I’ve pretty much fleshed out the areas denoted in the Eurychra map, and as mentioned in the last post, grouped most of them up into specific realms, or “kingdoms” (this is a loose term really, but we’ll get more into that later). As such, I figured I would begin this broad overview with those items, seeing as how they predominate the map, and set the tone both politically and historically.

There are already some differences between the map in the last post and the descriptions given below (i.e., in the first entry, the great waste of Eremia has been replaced by the mysterious realm of Amoq). I am in the process of creating a new version, and since I’m doing this on a new laptop, I had to re-download Hexographer (and apparently have lost the old .hxm file, grah). As I mentioned before, the map will undoubtedly go through many changes — possibly more after this much has been detailed, but that remains to be seen. Changes will be noted in italics below, but for the most part the map remains unchanged.

A note on the language abbreviations used with the name definitions: Alv. = Alvarric, or vale-elven; Amq. = Amoqan; Dw. = Dwarvish; Har. = Harwathic; Hyl. = Hylenic, or wood-elven; Ked. = Kedanic (or “Auld Mannish”); Ud. = Udanian.

AMOQ (Amq. “refuge”, this replaces the previous name of Eremia (the Great Waste) on the map). Great blast of arid desert, framed by the Hinder Peaks (q.v.) to the west, and Dread Mountains (q.v.) to its east and south. After his defeat at Bad Galeth (q.v.), Jehar the Usurper was driven here, presumably to his destruction. Legend has it that not only did the people of Jehar survive, but that they prospered, growing into a savage nation. The Hyleni tell of the area being created ages ago when the mad fire-god Ignar was forcibly removed from the world by the goodly-aligned deities. It is possible that some remnant of his evil could be the source from which Jehar’s people derived their power. Nonetheless, Amoq remains a mysterious threat to the free-peoples of Eurychra, albeit one that has yet to show its hand.

ANDLACHEN (Ud. “ford (of the) Andlang”). Free-city north of the kingdom of Udan (q.v.), which is still politically under its auspices and protection, that grew from a trading town frequented by the citizens of that realm, as well as those of Cor Arbirros (q.v.) and Harwald (q.v.). It is now a city proper, walled and protected from the northern Knollands (q.v.), and self-governed.

BRUNHEATH (Dw. “shielded-hill”). Eastern dwarven kingdom, beneath the Dread Mountains (q.v.) and west of the Cilegan River (q.v.). It guards the eastern entrance to the cursed underground complex of Gomlaragravir (q.v.), sworn to defend the surface world from whatever evils that find their way out.

COLUBETH (Ud. “house (in the) clearing”). An established society of humans in the eastern foothills of the Hyperian Mountains (q.v.) who have been rumored to be in contact with the mysterious Urani, or high-elves (q.v.).

COR ARBIRROS (Hyl. “realm of tree-shade”). The kingdom of the Hyleni, or wood-elves. Possibly the oldest known civilization in Eurychra, Cor Arbirros or at least some of its cities have existed since the Elder Age, when the gods and goddesses still walked the earth. The realm is now considered to be the seat of learning and of most forms of knowledge. As of late, however, the wood-elven nation has become more insular, preferring only to deal with outsiders in matters of economic necessity and political urgency. In particular, their dealings with mannish nations have cooled considerably, presumably because they see that race as being unnecessarily violent and short-viewed, taking drastic measure instead of well thought out discourse. While there are some among their race who do not represent these views, those individuals are typically shunned by Hylenic society.

-Akradys (Westfold). The agricultural center of Cor Arbirros, this region has been skillfully cleared of the usually impenetrable foliage to allow more sunlight to its fields and greenhouses.

-Anach-Bor (North Kingdom). The eventual home of the liege of Cor Arbirros, where the current lord (Bathastus) resides with his cabinet and attendants, as well as representatives of all noble houses.

-Bax Thymea (Garden of Spirits). Massive, ornate city of the dead, containing monuments to all the past noble houses, as well as those dedicated to soldiers fallen in battle. Most notably, however, the Bax is known for its many shrines and reliquaries devoted to the god Nomus the Law-giver, patron deity of the realm.

-Cheranoth (Sutherland). This city oversees the nation’s wildlife preserve and hunting grounds. While hunting is seen as both necessary for the common diet as well as a recognized facet of wood-elven heritage, it is now strictly overseen by hunt masters who only allow activity during the given hunting seasons.

-Dom Canal (House of Judgment). The seat of the Nomite clergy, as well as that of the Hylenic Senate, which defers to the king in matters of jurisprudence.

-Makolon (Far Post). Once an occupied trade point which supplied caravans to and from the western sea-elven realm of Hesperia, it has long been abandoned in light of Cor Arbirros’ increasingly insular practices.

-Nao Adelphai (Sister Temples). Abandoned temples of the sister goddesses Thera the Huntress and Tropha the Gatheress, whose worship is now officially forbidden by the Nomite clergy. Nonetheless, the temples have managed to not only be demolished, but are often adorned with sacrifices and offerings.

-Pedimeth (Middlemarch). Known as the Welcome City, it is best known to visitors to Cor Arbirros. Offered are numerous lodging areas and guildhouses, as well as storage buildings and various suppliers. In the current light of the realm’s attitude towards outsiders, Pedimeth is all most visiting parties ever see of the wood-elven kingdom.

FID, TOWER OF. Massive, roughly cobbled spire, which appears more to have extended from the earth below more than built above due to outcroppings of stone which seem to reinforce its structure, is the residence of one of the more mysterious figures in Eurychrian history — the arch-mage Fid. What is known about him could scarcely fill a single parchment, but what is rumored a room full of vast tomes. Few have ever even seen the man, much less know anything about him. What is known is that even the denizens of the Murkmire steer clear of his influence, so if anything his presence provides some stabilization to the area.

GILDUR (Ked. “rugged wall”). Land held by an independent sect of wizards and devotees of the goddess Cutha Gwynhagar (Kedanian Maid of Magic). The people are said to be of a goodly sort, but strange in their ways and customs.

GOMLARAGRAVIR (Dw. “Hall of the Stones Singing”). Immense underground city, located in the extreme southwest of Eurychra, now lost to the ages. Little to nothing is known of its history outside Dwarven society. The kingdoms of Lendalar and Brunheath (qq.v.) keep soldiers at each sealed entrance, and forbid any to attempt entering. Even Hylenic scholars are at a loss for what made the ancient dwarves leave their former homeland, simply citing that “the ancestors of the current lines of Dwarven kings had suffered some tragedy so great that it drove them to abandon all they had ever known, if only to spare their lives and those of their forebears.”

HARWALD (Har. “high forest”). Kingdom of the Harwath, northern cousins of the men of Udan (q.v.). Known informally as the Northmen, like their rugged and heavily forested land, they are a hale and secretive people. Predominated in its southern reaches by the Harrow-moors (q.v.), the people of Harwald are embattled, at odds with all sorts of fiendish enemies spawned from the cold marshland, as well as the western Knollands (q.v.). Nonetheless, they maintain high spirits, wishing to be taken by their patron god Haern the Hunter after dying in battle.

-Budhalm (Foothill). The northernmost province of the realm, and the highest populated area, given the protection of the Hyperian Mountains (q.v.). It consists of mostly women and children, protected by a watch overseen by an earl operating at the behest of the king.

-Cressland (Horseland). The area is devoted to the breeding and training of the stout mounts which provide transport throughout the rugged realm. The horses are renowned throughout Eurychra and are prized as preeminent work animals, and thus are often traded by the Harwath as a high commodity.

-Midwich (Middlewood). The capital and royal province of the land, with the king, his subjects and family, as well as the largest garrison of warriors, ready to mobilize or protect their liege.

-Hillsedge. An abandoned fort at the Knollands eastern reach, rumored by the superstitious Harwath to be haunted by dark spirits.

KHADATH (Alv. “deep secret”, note that the current map does not correspond with the description below; that will be fixed). Lowland nation of the Alvari, or vale-elves, within the southern dale of the River Andlang (q.v.). The next-oldest elven civilization after Cor Arbirros (q.v.), Khadath was settled ages ago by those of the first tribes of elves who wished to be rid of their former kingdom’s Nomic ideology. Unlike the realm of the Hyleni, which is overseen by a strictly patriarchal government, Khadathic society shares the brunt of rule evenly between both genders, even going so far as to have mated pairs as joint leaders of their nation. Also unlike Cor Arbirros, Khadath has maintained a close relationship with their allies, in particular the northern mannish kingdom of Udan (q.v.).

-Caer Amphis (Vineland). The largest agricultural province of the realm, so named after the massive vineyards which proffer vintages that are celebrated throughout Eurychra. They are so beloved by the dwarves in particular that when a group of hill-giants from the southernmost Cragged Peaks (q.v.) were sighted heading north, the king of Lendalar (q.v.) sent an entire garrison of stalwart dwarves to aid in defending against the invaders.

-Fanarel (Clearing). The western agricultural province of Khadath, which is more devoted to cereal grains and fruit groves.

-Krimnach (Cliffs-edge). The largest city-state of the vale-elves, serving as capital and seat of government.

-Meryma (Riverside). Historic first settlement of the tribe of Thariel, the elven leader who would eventually become the first queen of Khadath. It has long since been abandoned, but features a monument to her (Thariel’s Well) and their ancestors’ flight from Nomic oppression.

-Vardanath (Hillguard). Former fort erected to protect the southern agricultural lands, this before the current (albeit uneasy) pact with the mad arch-mage Fid (q.v.) was in place, to protect the vale- elves from the Murkmire in return for limited trade.

LENDALAR (Dw. “Dale-land”, note the mountain range has not yet been extended). Western dwarven kingdom, directly south of the desert realm of Amoq (q.v.), separated by the lowest reach of the Dread Mountains (q.v.). Like its sister kingdom Brunheath to the east, Lendalar was founded by an exit from the forgotten city of Gomlaragravir (q.v.), where their standing soldiers remain ever watchful.

UDAN (Ked. “forest”). Central mannish kingdom extending along the run of the River Andlang (q.v.). Originally known as Kedan (‘east’) when the first tribes of men settled there after their exodus from Hesperia (q.v.), the realm was renamed much later after a savage civil war (which resulted in the Battle of Bad Galeth (q.v.)), the migration of many of their people to the north (to found the kingdoms of Colubeth, Gildur and Harwald (qq.v.)) and a long campaign against the foul denizens of the Hinder Peaks (q.v.) drove the remaining kingdoms to consolidate under one crown.

-Balcagost (‘ridge-keep’). The central agricultural center of Udan, this area benefits most from sunlit clearings and the rich soil supplied by the dale of the Andlang. From sprawling fields, fragrant groves and ample pastures, it is truly the heart of the realm, as it supplies its neighboring city-states with the majority of their food throughout each year.

-Eburelon (‘white-oak’). Named after the tree prevalent in the region, Eburelon eventually became the capital of Udan after its fifth king Foregund managed to convince his fellow lieges to combine their resources and better protect the realm as a whole. Now the White City is regarded as one of the greatest in all of Eurychra, a spectacle of art, architecture and natural beauty, as well as the pinnacle of mannish society.

-Magdal-Ayin (‘watch-tower’). Positioned between the northern Rivelwood (q.v.) and the southern reach of the Hinder Peaks (q.v.), the city-state of Magdal-Ayin primarily serves as a means of defense. The northern garrison of the Udanian reserve is stationed here, ready at a horn’s blast to assemble.

-Malacath (‘southern rise’). The home of Udan’s southern garrison, it is better known for the High Temple of Baal, now known as the kingdom’s patron deity. Originally the first such temple built in the name of the sun-god, it was later renovated by Foregund after taking over kingship of the entire realm.

A huge post, yes — but the first peek at what will be an ongoing work. I am having a blast at this point, with this turning out to be a solid foundation for lots of world-building to come. I’m sure at some point I’ll be porting stuff out to .pdf files (with illustrations and good ol’ Century Gothic type), but for the time being we’re still working out the broad strokes, here. More to come…