The Islands: The New World, Part 2
by, 09-12-2012 at 08:31 AM (1064 Views)
“What Do I Know about Where We Are?”
You know that Clenchwarton is the primary power in the islands; when you see a ship, it’ll probably be a Clenchwart vessel. You know that Clenchwarton nominally shares the responsibility with Waclaw for overseeing the largest city in the islands; they are both imperialist powers seeking conquest and resources and hoping to one-up and outdo each other. Pitting them against each other, especially on this kind of scale where it could actually matter, might even make a difference to the people back home… if word ever reached them.
You know that Fǔshůnese sailors kidnap people, and you’ve heard why. So that’s a little scary. You have heard that Fǔshůnese sailors sometimes entrap the unwary using attractive people as lures. That’s kind of scary, too. The Mastooran are courageous if sometimes foolhardy sailors who take extraordinary risks merely to brag later. They also just lie. A lot. The Kébéme are scared of something called The Witch, but She doesn’t seem to have a presence on the islands, and that makes any Kébéme very happy to be here. And a Langwarrin? How the hell did any of them get here? They’re all criminals and mad men. Best to stay away from them.
Besides that, the islands have indigenous peoples. They’re pleasant enough. They have welcomed the visitors with open arms. The women are Pacific Islander beautiful. The men are Pacific Islander handsome. They worship strange idols in private services, and sometimes people that stay with them for longer than a few days disappear, but that happens all the time in places like this.
There are ancient ruins on many islands. These are trap-filled monster dens into which only the bravest go. Those who do survive sometimes emerge with great riches and objects of power unseen since the legendary past. Others emerge with weird diseases and gray hair. You take your chances.
To make things easier on me, as I know jack shit about sailing, everything is measured in time. For mental reference, everyone is coming to the islands from the west, thus sailing east. You know that it’s about 6 months on a meandering course from Clenchwarton or Waclaw to the islands, 5 months if anyone were to sail the meandering course from Kébéme to the islands, 3 months to sail straight from Mastoorah to the islands, and about 2 months to sail southeast or northeast from Fǔshůn or Langwarrin, respectively, to the islands. In all cases, that’s to sail to the nearest, southernmost tip of the islands, which is lightly peopled and heavily monstered, but nonetheless a source of fresh water if a ship’s cleric or druid has died en route.
The first community anyone reaches is the port of Sabang (pop. 1,007) on the island of Kelor. Everyone uses native names to refer to islands and settlements because no one can agree to call them anything else.
Sabang is probably where you’ll end up, so that’s all you really have to care about right now.
To sail to the northernmost islands—with ice floes in the distance—takes 3 months from Kelor. To go as far east as you possibly can, to the last tiny island until there’s nothing but water and water forever until the edge of the world, takes 3 months from Kelor. Travel between islands usually takes from a day to a week, but sometimes longer to get to isolated places.
So, you as a player asks, “Why doesn’t anyone just sail west?” I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.
Clenchwarton and Langwarrin, obviously, share a language. Fǔshůn, Mastoorah, and Waclaw have different languages from everyone else. You get the language where you’re from and Common for free. And so does everyone else.
Kébéme has a hundred different languages, and if you’re from Kébéme you know only 1. List the number of Kébéme languages you know on your character sheet. Then, when you encounter another Kébéme, you’ll roll 1d100. If you roll under the number of Kébéme languages you know, you speak the same Kébéme language as another Kébéme speaker. Congratulations. But, fortunately, even as a Kébéme, you get Common for free. Frequent contact with foreigners and all that.
Most of the islanders only get the language of the island that they’re from. And there are thousands of islands. Usually, though, there’s at least one among them who can speak Common. Usually. And sometimes one or two will speak Sylvan, which is pretty rare among those from the old world, but it’s out there.
For flavor, a Clenchwart (and, by extension, a Langwarriner) should consider taking Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Halfling, and Terran (yes, the evil Welsh gargoyles speak Terran, Reuben). A Waclavian should consider taking Draconic, Dwarven, Giant, and Gnome. A Mastooran should consider taking Aquan, Auran, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Ignan, and Terran (genies are based on the elements, after all). A Fǔshůnese should consider taking Draconic, Elven, Gnoll, Goblin, and Orc. A Kébéme should consider taking Abyssal, Celestial, Elven, Halfling, and Infernal.
So there are three Churches of the Dragon. The original Church of the Dragon is the Waclavian Church of the Dragon, Dexter, whose seal has the dragon facing right, while the schismatic one is the Clenchwart Church of the Dragon, Sinister, whose seal has the dragon facing left. The Mastooran Church of the Dragon, Passant, has the dragon on all fours, facing right (if you care).
About 200 years ago, the Church of the Dragon split between the Dexter and Sinister. Greed, mainly. The Sinister Church is liberal, while the Dexter is conservative. The Passant Church went crazy for another desert prophet 500 years ago (all the prophets in the Church of the Dragon mythology come from the desert) and has been going its own wacky way ever since. To the Dexter and Sinister the Passant prophet was a charlatan. To the Passant, he was the Second Coming, and now they’re waiting for the Third Coming and, hence, the apocalypse.
Arumdinans think this whole dragon thing is bullshit. Arumdinan clerical spells still work, so their gods aren’t dead, and everyone else can believe whatever they want. Followers of the Church of the Dragon—all of them—think the little bastards are stealing power from the Dragon Himself and therefore don’t like them very much.
The Fǔshůnese worship the Emperor, and they get spells. That’s a little scary to the Church of the Dragon folk. And the Kébéme try to make their gods go away, yet they still get spells. That scares the leaders of all the Churches of the Dragon a whole lot.