Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shards of Skardi Civilization

Many empires, cultures, and peoples have passed before the red sun of Krül, but one of the earliest was the Skardi, a long-lost undersea race of squid-like humanoids that held domain beneath the many seas that once dotted the surface of the planet.

The Skardi watched with trepidation as the Man descended from the stars and, much later, mourned their lost history as the deserts claimed carefully cultivated kelp forests and pearl inlaid temples, the last of their kind choking feebly in the final polluted pools that acted as prisons for their kind.

Some whisper that despite the near-extinction event of Krül's cataclysm, a few Skardi enclaves still persist. Rumors drift into trading posts frequented by the Quom of sealed tunnel networks beneath the Veridian Sea where ingenious filtration methods have allowed small numbers of Skardi to maintain their ancient homes, and sailors frequently report Skardi sightings in the Surviving Sea, although these stories are often met with incredulity.

Depicted below is the ruins of the collapsed Skardi city of Izuma, now the home of a variety of mutants, machines, and madmen who wander the rusted tunnel networks and once-grand avenues and spacious homes of the Skardi.


Concept art provided by David Lewis Johnson!

Thaggadoom!

Between narrow bands of arable land running parallel with the canals that crisscross the globe are vast tracts of pitted, arid desert which mar the face of Krül. Yet it is not only the merciless environment that drives men to huddle in their canal-cities, for great beasts and giants roam these barrens, far-ranging predators whose solitary existence is dedicated to the pursuit of flesh.

This is a profile of one of these predators, a clever beast who has outfought, outwitted, and outlived many generations of men who would lay him low:

THAGGADOOM!


Thaggadoom is a behemoth of simple ambitions and refined taste, an epicurean titan whose motives are most often gastronomical in nature. Renowned for his discerning nose and sensitive taste buds, Thaggadoom is considered one of the greatest living gourmands on Krül, lauded amongst his fellows for his expertise in the realm of horseflesh. It is been said (although never substantiated) that Thaggadoom can determine the breed, lineage, and living conditions of a horse simply by sampling the bouquet of its aroma, plucking the sweet notes of tamarind in an Andalusian or that subtle hint of licorice found in colts raised along the Mur Plains outside Yazlan.

Due to his exuberance for equine delights, Thaggadoom is most feared by the Quom, a hardy people who have eked out a rough nomadic existence in those inhospitable mountains and blasted plains that once comprised the Veridian Sea. These horsemen are held in the highest regard for their excellence in breeding, care, and training of their mounts, and according to those who have knowledge of such things, this produces a variety of rich and vibrant flavors. As such, Thaggadoom often ranges the wind-swept cliffs and stony steppes of that parched ocean, seeking to sate his appetite between long periods of hibernation.

Despite the voracious hunger that defines Thaggadoom, he is perhaps one of the most reasonable and good-humored giants, content to go on occasional raids or accept tribute from those bands wise enough to appease him with a selection of young, succulent mares. A shrew negotiator and slow to anger, Thaggadoom will often accept audiences that pay him the proper deference, although he is known to drive a hard bargain and will happily devour those who waste his time or whose terms do not suit him.

It is these indulgent qualities that often set Thaggadoom at odds with the more enterprising fellows of giant-kind as he will rarely show interest in or provide support for their schemes. This has caused the more outspoken would-be conquerors such as Warlord Zorg to claim that Thaggadoom has grown soft in his old age. Many doubt such claims, however, as Thaggadoom has repeatedly disproven such accusations by soundly thrashing any challengers or slanderers. Indeed, there are well nigh a dozen young turks amongst the colossi that must annually deliver their pound of horseflesh in penance for insults past.

Should the shadow of Thaggadoom blacken the sky during your travels across the Savage World of Krül, you would be best served to feed your mount an extra apple and to whisper soothing words into his ear so as to ensure the giant's meal is sweet and none too gamey. After all, it is far better to wander the forsaken wastes afoot than join the menu, as Thaggadoom will not abide substandard fare.

. . .
As always, thanks to David Lewis Johnson, concept artist for the Savage World of Krül, who provided this stunning image.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Barbarians of Oxala

Between the relative safety of those canal cities to the North and the imperial Vossun Makkal range to the South is a pitiless waste which has become the graveyard of millions, a no-man's land wherein nature has shattered both man and beast.

Yet, for those too stubborn, too stupid, and too mean to live elsewhere, a hardscrabble existence awaits beneath the shadows of Vossun Makkal, that impenetrable bulwark of the bottom of the world. A loose confederation of tribes, comprised of scoundrels and marauders of the worst sort, wander the barren, lawless tundra living off of what they can steal and scavenge until the annual pillages that come with the Great Thaw each spring. As the canals are filled to bursting by torrential floods, the outlaw tribes gather at Oxala, a fortified trading post transformed into a sprawling tent city as more and more brigands, plunderers, and desperadoes pour in from mountain retreats, desert enclaves, and pre-apocalyptic bunkers.

Although nominally this gathering exists as a conclave between chiefs to coordinate their attacks on the civilized world, in reality it acts primarily as a place to gamble, boast, and whip the troops into a frenzy of greed, lust, and blood thirst. This barely-directed anarchy then erupts Northward, rolling across under-prepared villages and city-states alike to loot, plunder, rape and burn anything that cannot be defended by sword and ray-gun.

Depicted below is one of these savage tribesmen in pursuit of some poor soul caught alone in the badlands that surround Oxala.


This phenomenal piece comes from David L. Johnson, co-conspirator and concept artist at large.

Look for more soon from the Savage World of Krül!
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