Friday, August 23, 2013

Glossary of Krülty



People:

Arbiters: Thin-blooded children of the Elite that live as lawless idle rich hipsters with magic powers.
Autos: Intelligent cars which roam the countryside in feral packs.
Buzzsaw: One-armed gladiatorial champion of Kushtur Arena, formerly associated with the Metal Fingers.
Centaurs: Motorcycle cyborgs which serve the Governor.
Clock King: Aspiring Star Lord of Time now presumed dead after the Tower of Time collapsed.
Coneheads: Violent drug addicts physically deformed by Cone, the newest street drug in the Low Quarter.
Diamond Debs: 7th Ward all-girl gang and professional wrestling troupe comprised of Virgin's War vets.
Demons of the Earth: See Gods in the Earth.
Dragon Masters: Reptilian enemies of the First Men, bent on conquest.
Elite: Rulers of Val-Soth, descendants of the Gods of the Earth.
Fallarin: Winged race of humanoids which live in remote enclaves.
The Family: God-beings which rule over Omega, the Last City.
Father Wisdom: Patriarch of the Family, protector of Omega, the Last City.
First Men: Celestial beings which humanity descended from.
Galactic Oligarchs: Rulers of the celestial spheres.
General Metroom: Colonial administrator of Almurth.
Gods of the Earth: Powerful beings that populate the Underworld.
Govenor: Robotic mind dedicated to exterminating humanity.
Joes: Bug-people divided into different castes and working as second class citizens to humans.
Kadja: Buxom, mischievous daughter of Valmar.
Kong: Ape-race that serves as soldiers of the Dragon Masters.
Krütians: Once the most populous prehuman species on Krül, now a dwindling race.
Law & Order Party: Low Quarter political party comprised of petite bourgeoisie.
Lawsons: Bourgeois class of bureaucrats who worship the First Men.
Lum the Lascivious: Flesh warlock known for his jaded and lecherous tastes.
Mathilda the Massive: Leader of the Diamond Debs, former colonel in the Virgin's War.
Metal Fingers: Cyborg street gang in the 7th Ward.
One-Eye: Mutant adventurer and would-be Elite godling, executed for heresy.
People's Party: Low Quarter political party comprised of the working poor.
Prana: Arbiter trendsetter and rival to Yaga.
Quom: A tribe of horsemen who range the Veridian Sea.
Seventh Ward Workmen: Volunteer militia comprised of police officers ousted by the Law & Order Party.
Silver Skulls: Masked gang on the rise in the 7th Ward, sole distributors of Cone.
Skardi: Cephalopod race now nearly extinct after the Annihilation Event.
Star Lords: Mighty wizard-kings which once ruled over Krül.
Thaggadoom: Legendary giant with a taste for horseflesh.
Thar-Phreen: See Joes.
The Twins: Underworld gods of fraternity, secrecy, and oaths.
Vaal: Underworld god of hidden knowledge.
Valmar: Law & Order Party booster and 7th Ward garment manufacturer.
Ward Boss Framoso: Boss of the 7th Ward and staunch member of the Law & Order Party.
Warlocks: Modern wizards.
Warlord Zorg: Conquering giant-king to the West.
Xubatu, the Slithering God: God of the Earth which provides magical power in exchange for service.
Yaga: Arbiter fashionista and rival to Prana.
Zillas: Half-intelligent dinosaur beasts of war.

Places:

Abbol Canal: Major canal that connects Val-Soth and Tsath.
Almurth: Val-Soth's contested colony in the Surviving Sea region.
Basin of Gold: Huge tent bazaar, marketplace, and dockyard of Val-Soth where multiple canals converge.
Danceteria: Dime-a-dance joint and reported hideout of the Metal Fingers Gang.
Diunma Nami: The cancerous living moon of Krül.
Fifth Ward: One of the nine wards in the Low Quarter of Val-Soth and Krütian ghetto.
House of Man: See Temple of Man.
Izuma: Lost city of the Skardi at the bottom of the Veridian Sea.
Kushtur Arena: Massive gladiatorial arena in Val-Soth.
Lokuz: Enslaved human city, run by the Kong in the name of the Dragon Masters.
Maze of the Seven Thousand Crystal Frames: Underworld home of Xubatu, the Slithering God.
Mur Plains: Rich grasslands outside of Yazlan.
Omega, the Last City: Sealed utopia ruled by the Family.
Outer Wastes: Dilapidated ruins surrounding Val-Soth.
Overworld: Infinite dimension of possibility, both above the world and overlapping it.
Oxala: Meeting ground of a confederation of barbaric tribes in the foothills of Vossan Makkal Range.
Scarlet Sea: Fabled sea of blood in the Underworld.
Seventh Ward: One of nine wards in the Low Quarter of Val-Soth, home of the campaign.
Surviving Sea: The last known major body of water on the surface of Krül.
Temple of Man: Lawson temple to the First Men in Val-Soth, banking hub and seat of city government.
Tower of Time: Massive sand castle and home to the Clock King, now collapsed.
Tsath: Occupied city-state, formerly a feminist utopia, now divided into districts ruled by regional powers.
Veridian Sea: Dead ocean, wiped out by the Annihilation Event.
Underworld: Vast system of caves full of gods, monsters and treasures, said to terminate in the Overworld.
Val-Soth: City-state where the campaign begins.
Vossan Makkal Range: Massive mountain range to the south of Val-Soth.
Yazlan: City-state to the east of Val-Soth.

Things:

Annihilation Event: War between First Men and Star Lords which drank the oceans and shattered the sky.
Celestial Orders: Warlock societies dedicated to the study of the Seven Sciences.
Cone: Hallucinogenic drug currently all the rage, known for horrible side effects.
Ex Nihilio: Failed project by the First Men to create a perfect sphere of Law as a reward to the faithful.
Great Thaw: Annual rush of floodwaters from melting polar ice caps.
Ideal Forms: Perfect aspects of creation which emanate infinite variations of potential reality.
Kirbonite: Element found in the Underworld which attunes local area with the Overworld.
Tourists: Otherworldly troublemaking spirits which have taken physical form.
Trials of the Gods: Test undergone by divine paternity claimants to join the Elite.
Worldcube: Legendary treasure said to lead to other dimensions.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth!

One of the two Dragon Master subspecies:
The Mastermind

The descent of the First Men from the heavens ushered in an era of bounteous joy and illumination, where all strove to live in perfect harmony with the Law and each meditated upon the Ideal Form which they emanated from. Yet, paradise could not last. An ancient enemy of the First Men, the terrible Dragon Masters, saw this land of pure peace and happiness and were filled with a gnawing jealousy. Seeking to wreck what the First Men had wrought, the Dragon Masters passed through the firmament and onto the Savage World of Krül.

Aping the First Men before them, the Dragon Masters wreathed themselves in flesh. Taking on an aspect of the serpent, the Dragon Masters built remote kingdoms far from the eye of the Law and began to spread heresies amongst the half-men. The Dragon Masters claimed to predate humanity, and that Men were but cattle which had escaped from their pens. They even shaped mockeries of the flesh, hirsute, roughly man-shaped beings which they claimed were the true origins of the Law. These they named Kong, and all who saw their hideousness hid their face in shame.

Depredations of the Kong

Great armies of these Kong were raised in a bewildering array of forms, but all marked with a cruel, lawless savagery which rivaled that of any half-man. The Kong scoured the land, conquering the wild places and where the Law was weak; and wherever the Kong touched, the Dragon Masters carved the world in their image. Great serpents, known as dinosaurs, were called forth from the sky so that when the Dragon Masters passed through their territories they would see themselves reflected as in a pool. A darkness fell over the land and some whispered that the Law could not hold and only the jungle would remain.

It was thus that the First Men sallied forth from their shining citadels, astride their flaming steeds and wreathed in stars. Fearlessly they drove into the twisted, stinking mass of the Kong, searing the false men with the truth of the Law. For many days did the battle rage on, a great deluge of blood pouring from the mountains of corpses and into the Underworld, where a Scarlet Sea is said yet to remain. 

When all was still only the First Men remained.

One of the First Men mounts for battle

In the aftermath the defeated Dragon Masters were gathered so that they could be administered the Law. The First Men pronounced that if the Dragons so loved the jungle, they would become naught but beasts. Hence, the Zillas were born, those half-intelligent monsters which serve as mounts and soldiers in the wars of the city-states.

Yet some few Dragon Masters escaped the judgement of the First Men, hiding in the cracks of the earth and nursing their wounds. These Dragon Masters would rise up time and again to threaten Man, and so Kong and Zilla still clash today, from the jungles to the city-states to the grand canals; wherever life may dwell, you will find them there, fighting for their very survival.

In Part 2, we'll be introduced to the mighty Kong and their unending war against the descendants of the First Men!



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Father Wisdom, Patriarch of the Family, Keeper of the Flame and Steward of OMEGA, The Last City

All hail the Defender of Civilization, Upholder of the Law, and Judge of the Wicked:

Chris Kutalik as a young Father Wisdom
by Jason Sholtis

The sealed citadel of the OMEGA, the Last City, is said to be heavenly beyond measure, the perfect realization of Law. Many have spoken of the miracles of Father Wisdom, the First Man who refused to abandon Krül, and the paradise that he carved from the wreck of a world.

***

More details about Father Wisdom and the Family are forthcoming here from Rogues and Reavers, but today I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the second birthday of the G+ Hill Cantons game (which passed last Tuesday), run by the inestimable Chris Kutalik. I can honestly say that, in my near 20 years of experience playing and running D&D, nothing has even begun to compare. If you ever have the opportunity to play, do not pass up on a game that I have no doubt is every bit as good as the legendary campaigns of Arneson, Gygax, and Barker. If given the opportunity, I will continue to play for the rest of my years.

A large part of what makes the Hill Cantons so amazing is my fellow players, the Nefarious Nine. Thanks to Cole, Evan, Anthony, Humza, Michael, Mike D, Jeremy, Trey, Mikah, Jason, and Rey. Knowing all of you has been a boon.

Okay, time to put away the handkerchief and get back to blogging. Thanks again!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gods Walk Among Us!

Seas Boil

When the Annihilation Event occurred, the Underworld drank the oceans and the Overworld rained death. The Star Lords had stolen the fires of heaven and so the First Men, in response, razed the earth over which they laid claim.

With the death of the physical world the Star-Lords became increasingly remote, retiring to their celestial abodes and leaving their physical kingdoms in chaos. The people of Krül, abandoned both by their First Men forefathers and their Star-Lord kings, cried for salvation as their world burned.

The Demons in the Earth listened.


The sky breaks open

Long feared and held in contempt, the blood-cults emerged from the depths of the Underworld, led by their half-god high priests. These descendants of the gods, known as the Elite, gathered the frightened masses to their breast, providing succor from the ravages of a dying world. In exchange for saving man, the Demons in the Earth demanded worship and fealty.

The people of Krül emerged from the underworld when the Annihilation Event subsided, dedicated to reclaiming their lands from the ruins of civilization. Yet there was very little to return to, as the surface had been shattered by the ire of the First Men and only vast tracts of swampland remained where oceans once stood.

As the hungry maw of the desert feasted on the corpse of the world, the Elite undertook the greatest feat of engineering ever dared: a series of grand canals which crisscrossed the face of the world. These canals allowed the meager water resources of melting polar caps to be distributed as widely as possible, providing irrigation for the fields and vapor for the cloud machines. Where the canals intersected the Elite built cities and a vast trade network emerged.

An Elite High Priest

Although the canals would provide a second life for Krül, it was only a temporary reprieve. The deserts endlessly strive to claim the final remnants of humanity and even the Gods of the Earth seem incapable of holding them at bay for much longer. City-states like Val-Soth today owe their existence to these canals, and as they continue to break down each becomes more and more isolated, the desert slowly obliterating what little life yet remains.

Continued in Part 2, which will detail the modern Elite and their role as both high priests and heads of state.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Savage Indexing



For those who are just joining us, you can find an index to my house setting, the Savage World of Krül, HERE.

You can also click on the SWoK icon on your right.


Happy hunting!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Songs for the Working Joe

Working Joe rough draft
by Jason Sholtis

The ever-astute Cole suggested that the Working Joes needed some "bug man country music". While I certainly agree (and am in talks with some country-singing dudes), I thought I'd whip up a little solid country gold mix for our put-upon insectile friends, Songs for the Working Joes. You can download it here.

Tracks:
Merle Haggard - "Working Man Blues"
Dwight Yoakam - "I Got You"
Johnny Paycheck - "Slide Off Of Your Satin Sheets"
David Allan Coe feat. Bill Anderson - "Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands"
Willie Nelson - "Blackjack County Chain"
Tennessee Ernie Ford - "Sixteen Tons"
Merle Haggard - "If We Make It Through December"
David Allan Coe - "If That Ain't County" (No Racism Mix)
Johnny Paycheck - "Take This Job And Shove It"
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - "Workin' Man (No Place To Go)"
Johnny Cash - "The Legend of John Henry's Hammer"

Also, as a bonus, here are two more rough drafts of the Working Joe by the astonishing Jason Sholtis:



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Working Joes

Working Joe
by Jason Sholtis


The most populous of the Threen, the Working Joes can be seen toiling along the banks of the grand canals, in the crooked streets and the hardscrabble countryside. They are a tough, rowdy people and after a hard day's labor they can often be found crowding smoky, ill-lit juke joints and honky tonks, fighting, drinking, dancing, laughing, and loving. While their Lawson employers often consider the Working Joes filthy, ill-mannered and brutish, without them the canal system which is the lifeblood of their dying world would collapse entirely.

Working Joes find work wherever they can get it, but are most often employed as porters and stevedores, poleboat walkers and canal crews. Like all living beings on Krül, the Working Joe relies upon the canals for survival, but unlike most it is his muscle power that keeps them moving. Few human workers can be coerced into the herculean labor involved in dragging massive cargo barges upstream, a task essential to keeping trade alive. Fewer still willingly join the work crews needed to dredge the canals that the desert sands constantly threaten to consume. Yet the Working Joes are there, accepting for meager pay jobs that would break lesser men.

Outside of the canal system, many Joes work in construction, a field that they are uniquely suited for because of their ability to secrete a quick-hardening amber resin. This resin is a bonding agent similar to cement which is often used to reinforce crumbling canals and is an essential component of their tenement-mounds. 

Explorers, tomb robbers, and other unsavory sorts best know the Working Joes as porters used to haul treasures out of the undercity. Joes can be easily recruited from the throngs of the unemployed that wait outside of the Temple of Man. There, drifters, hard-luck cases, and Working Joes lounge, waiting to get hired onto a crew. Although Lawson administrators and capitalists are the primary employers, few are too proud to turn down work of any sort.

Working Joes
AC: 6; HD 1; MV 12" (4"), Wall-Crawl 6" (2"); AT #1; D 1d6; SV F1; ML 9
No. Enc.: 30-300; Hoard: II; XP: 16

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Warlock Fashion

Harkening back to the days of their founders, the Star-Lords, Warlocks have always possessed a flair for daring and theatrical costuming. Their dramatic sensibilities demand powerful color schemes of jet, gold, cerulean, rubicand, and royal purple.



Unlike the wizards of ancient legend, however, most Warlocks prefer outfits which allow for a greater range of movement. Voluminous robes have given way to short skirts or leggings with tasteful scarlet loincloths.























Owing perhaps to the fact that their progenitors are known as "Star-Lords", many Warlocks adopt cosmic elements into their design schema. Others believe this to be in deference to Starlin, one of the Ideal Forms whose emanations comprise the vast potentiality of the Overworld. Whatever the case may be, few can argue that it psychedelic flamboyance can spice up any dull outfit.























A natural consequence of mastering forces beyond the ken of Man is a tendency for Warlocks to take on an increasingly inhuman, otherworldly mien. Common mutations of this sort include golden skin, pupil-less eyes, and especially prominent chins. While some would bemoan such an unusual appearance, many a Warlock embrace this with an enviable amount of panache, opting for a 'more is less' approach to dress and allowing their supernatural attributes to be a fashion statement in and of themselves.





Trendsetting Warlocks may also want to remember these important fashion 'Dos' of the 800s: big collars are in, sleeves were made to flair, and every outfit can be accessorized with golden bracers or ornate girdles. Good luck out there, fashion fans!





Monday, August 12, 2013

Meet The Joes

Before the First Men descended from the heavens, Krül was peopled by a variety of half-men races which vied for territory in those mist-shrouded primeval forests of the earliest days. Amongst these savages, the insectoid Thar-Phreen stood tall, bound together by their telepathic hive-clusters whose communal memories reached back hundreds of generations. The earthen arcology-mounds towered high above the tree line, housing millions and standing as a testament to the achievements of the Thar-Phreen.

On the First Day, man swaddled himself in flesh and detached from the stars to spread the word of the Law. Many of the half-men recognized the truth of the Law and submitted themselves before the wisdom of the star-brothers. But not the proud Thar-Phreen, who asked, "What use have we for these strange and inconvenient truths? Man claims that his wisdom falls from the sky, like the rays emanating from the stars. Yet our wisdom was built up from the earth, and represents the combined thought of our fathers, and their fathers, and so on, extending backwards before Time was born."

And so it was that the Thar-Phreen brought their doom upon themselves.

Man, in his infinite wisdom, saw the hubris of those insectile half-men whose arcology-mounds shadowed the earth in their vanity and choked the heavens with their striving. In retribution, the First Men tossed their thunderbolts, shattering the great mounds and scattering the Thar-Phreen to the four winds. Then the First Men turned their deadly rays on the Vas-Phreen, keepers of history and speakers of wisdom. Thus spoke the First Men: "False wisdom has covered the eyes of the Phreen, and the accumulated detritus of many too-clever minds have occluded the truth. History has become a lie; therefore, this shall become the year zero. No more shall the Vas-Phreen think for you; each individual must come to the Law on his own."

(back row, left to right): Baby Joes, G.I. Joes, Mama Joes
(front row): Working Joes, Papa Joes
Image by Jason Sholtis

Today, the Thar-Phreen are but a wan reflection of their lost glory, toiling as humanity's underclass. Now known colloquially as "Joes", the Thar-Phreen are referred to by their role specialization:

Papa Joes: Genius telepaths that once ruled the Phreen and now are hunted nearly to extinction.

Mama Joes: Nursemaids and potential queens, Mama Joes today work primarily as domestic servants and governesses for wealthy Lawsons.

Baby Joes: The diminutive Baby Joes are often employed as messengers, scouts, spies, and information brokers.

Working Joes: Capable of tireless labor, Working Joes are hired out as construction workers, porters, stevedores, and in any profession that requires a strong back and few prospects.

G.I. Joes: The warrior class of the Thar-Phreen, the G.I. Joes are organized into rough tribes which are oft deployed to the front lines in the frequent clashes between city-states.

Further details on the Joes will be revealed in a series of upcoming posts (each superbly illustrated by the peerless Jason Sholtis). Stay tuned!
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