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My Fantasy RPG World, Feedback and Ideas appreciated

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Scalenex, May 17, 2019.

  1. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    As I near the end of my insane Worldember binge, I am still moderately interested in my place in the top ten lists (I've been floating between 6th and 10th place for both total word count and number of articles), but the places keep moving, so I think a numeric goal is better. I initially set the goal of 50,000 words but that was way too easy. As of the time of writing this post I have written 97,551 words in December. Might as well go for 100K. I've been hopping from topic to topic in a fairly disorganized fashion, but I find I really enjoy developing the religious factions of the Nine and the kalazotz and camazotz and the tengku the most. These things are essentially mine, whereas other things are an adaptation of D&D and/or Tolkien.

    Come January I'm going to focus less on quantity and more on quality. I really like writing about the tengku, kalazotz, and camazotz and other homebrew creatures, so I want to come up with more creatures like. Creatures without an obvious equivalent in other fantasy literature. So along those lines (and because this will help with the latest prompt) here are the Scaraquan cyclopes, aka "seaclopes".

    I am well aware that cyclopes are not a new fantasy race but they are one that is not commonly developed in post 20th century fantasy writing.

    [​IMG]
    Go to Scarterra Homepage
    Scaraquan Cyclopes
    Driven to the point of near extinction, the surviving cyclopes have been scattered apart for so long that most surviving cyclopes enclaves believes they are the last of their kind. The Scaraquan cyclopes are no exception. They are completely oblivious that there are enclaves of cyclopes living in Scarterra.

    It's possible that through sheer dumb luck one of the surviving Scarterran cyclopes ethnicity might discover each other. Some of the Lunatan cyclopes have spoken with sailors from Penarchia who have probably at least heard stories about the Penarchian cyclopes.

    But what even the most well traveled Scarterran cyclopes probably don't know is that Scaraqua has it's own race of cyclopes, sometimes called (at least on this article) seaclopes. Seaclopes are for their part, also unaware that they have cousins living above the surface of the sea in Scarterra.

    Even though there are a lot of seaclopes swimming not far from Cyclops Island, it is extremely unlikely that any Scarterran cyclops will ever meet a seaclops.

    Many Scaraquans have a limited ability to survive a few minutes or a few days on land without magical assistance. Seaclopes do not have this ability. Without magical assistance, they will begin suffocate immediately upon leaving the water. Seaclopes are very much creatures of the sea floor and have very little interest in exploring the surface world, especially since they don't like to rely on others for vital things and the seaclopes have very of their own spell-casters capable of casting spells to allow air breathing.

    Seaclopes are not a major player in Scaraquan events. There are millions of Merfolk, Karakhai, Ojiongo, and Astakalians aka Scuttlers, but there are only a few thousand Seaclopes swimming the seas.

    Their most unique ability is their near total immunity to extreme heat. Seaclops are able to handle just about anything cooler than bubbling magma. They can survive literally boiling water almost indefinitely. Though boiling water tends to deplete the water of oxygen fast, so this is vaguely similar to humans breathing the thin oxygen of extreme high altitudes.

    Seaclopes will usually put their lairs near sites of Geothermal activity, avoiding literally boiling water but picking areas that are far too hot for other Scaraquans to survive long in. Seaclops normally only leave to hunt, forage, or barter for food elsewhere, but it means they are almost untouchable while sleeping and resting in their homes.

    Life Cycle And Society
    Males and females are about the same size. Both tend to weigh between six and seven hundred pounds and stand around eight feet tall. In general, males are more likely to focus on developing their combat skills and females are more likely to focus on developing their crafting skills but there are exceptions on both sides. Every cyclops is expected to demonstrate at least basic ability to craft metal weapons and know how to use them.

    Unlike their land based cousins, seaclopes are matriarchal with women leading most clans. Monogamy is not really something Scaraquan cyclopes value, and since paternity is difficult to establish, mothers are usually the primary caregiver though it should be noted that Seaclopes are generally loyal to their race as a whole and accept that it takes a village to raise a child. Most Seaclopes live and work in clans ranging from 30 to 200 members, usually about in four of whom are children or adolescents. Mothers and fathers (and honorary aunts and uncles from the clan) all tend to be harsh parents but they believe they are harsh for their children’s own good. Cyclopes parents and mentors take pride in having lots of children and in having strong and successful children.Seaclopes will pay lip service to the Oshamni Empire or any other powerful group near them as convenient, but their true loyalty is to their own kind.

    Because of their patriotism for their clan, Seaclopes are less prone to fight their own kind than Scarterran Cyclopes often are. Relations between different Scaraquan cyclopes clans are usually pretty cordial. It's common for clans to meet to exchange members periodically to keep their bloodlines from getting too inbred. Different clans will usually help each other with favorable trade deals and will often come to each other's aid militarily too.


    Religious Practices
    Most seaclopes pay lip service to the Seeyirah, the daughters/sisters of the Sea and worship the Sons of the Sea Floor as their primary spiritual parents thanking them for their endurance and the rich resources of the Sea Floor which they claim as their primary home.

    Seaclopes have fairly few divine spell casters among them and even fewer arcane casters, but Seaclopes are disproportionately likely to be spirit loas. This has led to filial piety becoming an important aspect of their spiritual life. The Seaclopes do not keep detailed records or monuments to specific ancestors, so they tend to pray to the ancestors in abstract sense which fits their lifestyle because they tend to be loyal to their clan as a unit and not the individuals within their clan.
    Basic Information
    Anatomy
    Seaclopes have webbed toes and retractable webbing on their hands, and gills instead of lungs. But apart from this they are nearly physiologically indistinguishable from land cyclopes.
    Growth Rate & Stages
    Seaclopes have the same expected lifespan as their land based cousins. Seaclopes usually succumb to old age before sixty, though a lucky few make it to seventy. Males and females remain fertile until about fifty. Cyclopes mature quickly reaching full adulthood around age fifteen. Cyclops pregnancy lasts about nine months. Like the Scarterran Cyclopes, Seaclopes are usually born as fraternal twins.
    Civilization And Culture
    Interspecies Relations And Assumptions
    Seaclopes are good at working with their hands and building things. So are Astalakians who greatly outnumber them and favor the same environments so the Seaclopes trading niche has been somewhat coopted.What sets the Seaclopes apart from the Astalakians (and every other Scaraquan) is that the Seaclops are mostly immune to extreme heat which means they are the only Scaraquans that can work at a metal forge underwater without needing to set up a forge on land or creating a magical pocket of air.

    Seaclopes trade in forged metal goods and they use this to buy influence in Scaraquan nations to control wealth and political power disproportionate to their small numbers.
     
  2. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Valley of the Boiling Sea
    The Valley of the Boiling Sea is a region on the ocean floor of the Sea of Resona where molten metal regularly flows into the sea from deep under the crust of the Seafloor.

    This area houses Scaraqua's biggest mother lode of iron, tin, copper, and occasionally more rare precious metals.
    Localized Phenomena
    The Valley of the Boiling Sea has not one, but four vents Geothermal mineral vents periodically spewing molten metal into Sea.

    None of the four vents are constantly spewing metal, in fact most of the time none of them are spewing anything. When no new metal is surfacing, the water becomes cool enough that Scaraquans who are not cyclopes can survive there but they are uncomfortable.

    None of the four vents are constantly spewing metal, in fact most of the time none of them are spewing anything. When no new metal is surfacing, the water becomes cool enough that Scaraquans who are not cyclopes can survive there but they are uncomfortable.

    Some daring Scuttlers occasionally enter the area to mine the rich ore from the surface of the sea floor, but they risk being boiled alive if there is a new unexpected surge of hot metal.

    Fauna & Flora
    There are very few living plants here and even fewer fish, so food is scarce here. Some of the plants can be harvested carefully as reagents.

    While the biggest limiting factor for most Scaraquans are the extreme temperatues, the biggest limiting factor for the aquatic cyclopes is the lack of food and cyclopes tend to have prodigious appetites.

    Natural Resources
    Only seaclopes can (barely) survive the extreme temperatures without powerful magic and harvest metal while it's still cooling. That is normally not necessary as most of the ore present is cooled on top of the sea floor.

    Anyone brave enough to risk a sudden temperature change can theoretically mine the regular motherlodes here.

    Most of the people who work the are are Scaraquan cyclopes. At least five different clans of seaclopes regularly use the area to gather and shape metal ore.


    What Do Scarterrans Know About This Area?
    Not much.

    Scarterran sailors have noticed that the water here is unusually warm. They also know that the fishing here is terrible. Warmer waters are normally teeming with fish.

    Given that the water here is mysteriously warm here, yet oddly devoid of most life. There are lots of crass jokes about one or more of The Nine choosing this spot to urinate which would explain both the fluctuating warmness and the relative toxicity of the water here.

    A few Scarterrans have loaded themselves up with water breathing magic and tried to explore this area. The lucky ones don't find anything and come back empty handed. The unlucky ones are accidentally boiled alive by a sudden molten metal eruption heating up the water, or they are caught and eaten by a hungry aquatic cyclops.
     
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  3. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I've been writing most of the prompts this month, but apparently the Valley of the Boiling Sea really clicked.

    My first article with two likes and I got a new follower who apparently likes splicing little bits of Latin into his world which is called Artterra and he puts a lot of effort into illustrating his articles with hand drawn pictures.

    The muses instructed me to create a new Border Barony. I looked over what I have, "What did I originally plan to include here that I have not included yet."

    The answers are a matriarchy and a realm politically shaped by the Cult of the Compact. Those two things were not enough to make an interesting in and of itself so I created a magical anomaly.

    Because I'm a math nerd, I wanted to put my realm influenced by the Cult of the Compact in spot 9. But fortunately my interactive digital version of Pendrake's map makes it very easy for me to move map pins around, so I moved the Barony of Demos over to spot 8 to make room.

    Barony of Crystal Fields
    The Barony of Crystal Fields is named for fields near a font of earth elemental magic that allows slow growing crystals to rise from the ground. These crystals can be harvested and sold as durable reagents. This is area's only real export and claim to fame. Without the Crystal fields, this region would have almost nothing to entice people to settle here.

    Beyond the famed crystal fields, there is not a lot of arable land, but what land they have is quite fertile (passively infused with earth magic). The region is a little dryer than most of the Border Baronies region, but the people don't go hungry or thirsty, they just have to dig deeper wells.

    Tentative Geographic Assignment
    : 9
    Basic Concept: Matrilineal Monarchy influenced by the Cult of the Compact.

    History
    : Two generations ago, the Baron of Crystal Spire decided that he liked his daughter a lot more than he liked his son, so he broke the patrimony norm and named his daughter his heir. Later the young Baroness decided to go even further and wrote matrilocal succession into law instead of just a one-off event.

    Also the Baroness was a staunch follower of the Cult of the Compact. She wrote a Constitution enshrining them as the official religion of the Barony of Crystal Fields and gave them state powers.

    Government Style
    : A combination of meritocracy and nepotism. The Baroness will appoint her friends to positions of authority but her appointments can be nullified by a priestess of the Cult of the Compact.

    Most of the Baroness' ministers and the most of the Cult of Compact clergy are women.

    Character of the Realm
    : Matriarchal, a little bit druidic and nature loving. The area is so infused with earth magic that the it affects babies born here. The locals are VERY earthy in appearance and temperament.

    Challenges
    : The region has has a wide northern frontier where goblins and assorted monsters occasionally pop out from. The Baron of of Altudaredia covets the magical crystal fields and is considering invading the realm.


    Now I only I only have three empty spaces on the map, 3, 5 and 15 though of courses numbers are not set in stone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  4. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Khemra is a complicated guidance embodying Lawful Neutral. She is both sides of the sun, warm and lifegiving but also harsh and unforgiving.

    I wanted an icon for Khemra's Keepers that communicated both her positive and negative side but I'm afraid the eye made this lean too heavily on the creepy side.

    [​IMG]

    Also here is my childish drawing of crossed spears, the symbol of Maylar's Testers. Maylar likes spears because they are simple to use, easy to make, and deadly.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I got a paid subscription to World Anvil mainly to avoid the pop up ads but also for the family tree function. When I first did this, the family tree function was buggy.

    Now it's better.

    Or maybe I got less stupid about using it.

    Now all of Nilen's siblings, his parents, grandparents, and his many aunts and uncles and all his surviving great aunts and uncles have their own World Anvil article.

    Most of them are very very short articles (like Nilen's older brother, a farmer by trade).

    If the character doesn't come up in any stories, I don't really need details, but if I hypothetically decide to add a little tidbit about Nilen's brother while writing a draft, I can slap it in his brother's article so I don't forget it and/or contradict it later.

    Here is the link to Nilen's article which I'm bound to edit 100 times, because Nilen is going to grow in complexity and experience.

    The family tree embedded in the article shows Nilen's brothers and sisters, his parents, and his grand parents. It technically shows his great grand parents (but I just named them "Nilen's maternal/paternal great grandpa/grandma" I just needed them as a placeholder to let me insert great aunts and uncles as their children. They are long dead and don't need needs.

    Nilen's family tree will not automatically show his aunts and uncles, but if you click on Nilen's mother, the family tree will then reorient itself around Nilen's mother and it will show her brothers and sisters, her parents and grandparents, and her children. You can find Nilen's aunts and uncles by clicking on his parents or grandparents. You can find his great aunts and uncles by clicking on his great grand parents (that's why I had to create the sham entries of "Nilen's maternal/paternal great grandma/pa" as a place holder so I could link his great uncles and aunts.

    I got a bunch of articles. Some of Nilen's family are just farmers who lead unremarkable lives, but they represent gnomes who exist because, Nilen is not a tragic orphan.

    Nilen is a cobbler by trade like his father who was taught by his uncle, Nilen's great uncle. Nilen's great uncle is still alive and also helped apprentice Nilen.

    Nilen's mother is a housewife but she has a side business as an herbalist. Nilen learned a lot about herbalism from his mother. Nilen's mother learned her herbalism from her aunt. Nilen's Great Aunt Jomila who was a veritable savant on herbalism and also taught. Outside of his parents, Nilen probably liked his great aunt Jomila best of all his relatives and he is likely to call upon her wisdom a lot.

    Nilen's father was an only child, but his mom had a bunch of siblings. The ones that will probably get mentioned are his animal savvy Aunt Ragani, his story savvy Aunt Lilyas, and his Uncle Lanpos who taught Nilen countless dirty jokes and bawdy drinking songs.

    I have not created any of Nilen's cousins yet and I have named very few of them, but I have written down how many children his aunts and uncles all had, so if I need to throw a cousin in the mix, I can easily add them in.

    I know it's a bad idea to plan a sequel before finishing your first novel, but Nilen's Aunt Ariyas is one of the Stewards of Korus so if Need to rope Nilen into an nature based adventure later, I can easily have Aunt Ariyas reach out to him (once she realizes how badass the gnome Nilen eventually grows into is).

    Great Uncle Yaner and his many children and grandchildren are very watery gnomes. Nilen doesn't see them much now, but if I need to figure out a plausible reason to get Nilen on a sailing ship to have a sea adventure (and start dropping Scaraqua Easter Eggs), I can have one of his cousins or second cousins rope him in.

    I think I have a good foundation for Nilen's character development. Even though Nilen's family is not going to be with him, physical, he will be drawing on their wisdom and strength in his adventure.

    His main contribution even more than his common sense and eclectic wisdom is going to be forging a makeshift family out of his dysfunctional adventuring companions.

    Now I need to flesh out his motley adventuring party members, and the villains.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2021
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  6. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    So I had a rare social interaction and while I was enjoying a hot buttered rum, the first drink I had in months I asked if Merfolk could enjoy alcoholic beverages given that it's hard for sea creatures to drink (are they always drinking or never drinking?) and it would be hard to brew any liquids because they would normally get dispersed in the sea.

    A friend suggested, harvesting fish toxins too weak to kill you but strong enough to mimic drunkenness. I thought, well that kind of takes the light hearted fun out of drinking, then I remembered this video.

    It's a good idea but if I wrote about Scaraquans getting hammer on fish toxins that seems dirtier than writing about Scarterrans having a few drinks at the bar.

    Or is it the same?

     
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  7. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    I think it's the same.

    They'd probably do drinking from sealed containers, possibly using caves with pockets of air to mix the drinks (or magically created).

    Short of that, they could have edible sponges that they saturate with the toxing/alcohol.
     
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  8. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I guess I'm trying to normalize a lot of stuff between the land and sea.

    I used to brew a couple batches of my own beer a few times a year back when I hung out friends a lot and my liver was still young and strong. I was able to make pretty decent craft beer with about one days work. About $90 kit (sunk cost) about $40 of ingredients (variable cost) to make 5 gallons or 51 bottles of beer.

    I had an acquaintance who told me about his time in prison and how they wake an alcoholic out of oranges in a plastic bucket.

    There are also reality shows about people making moonshine illegal and the federal agents that try to stop them.

    The point is, making alcoholic drinks is not that hard. Maybe it's harder to make drinks that taste good, and there are stories about improperly made moonshine that has all sorts of deleterious effects upon those who drink it.

    Alcoholic beverages predate civilization by many thousands of years.

    The point is, even a lowly slave or serf could whip up something alcoholic if he wanted it bad enough. So could a drooling barbarian from the wilds.

    If the equivalent takes a specialized cave with air pockets or magic then underwater spirits are hardly the everyman beverage.


    Now for a slightly different topic. I think I'd like to come up with a classification for how readily food is available in the ocean.

    Donjon medieval demographics calculator has different rankings for population density "desolate" "poor" "settled" "average" "high" "maximum." You put in how much land you have and approximate how fertile the land is and the donjon calculator will figure out how many people can realistically live there.

    I would rather have in game-terminology for it that the people in the setting would say. Kind of like in Star Trek.



    If I came up with a standardized systems I can derive many very useful things as I develop the regions of the sea.

    1) I can figure out what the difficulty of a Survival roll for a small party of adventurers to eke it out here.

    2) I can figure out how expensive and difficult it is to maintain supply lines here for armies.

    3) I can figure out how big the local population is likely to be

    4) I can figure out how hotly contested an area is going to be between major political powers.

    For now I'm using letters but I don't want to stick with letters forever. At least I can switch to Latin letters but if I could come up with something more oceany, that's fine.

    A) (Alpha) The sea floor is quite shallow and warm, making this ideal for cultivating underwater agriculture (herein referred to as bread plants) and the area is probably teaming with fish.

    B) (Beta) The Sea floor is fairly shallow and warm making this above average for bread plants and has decent fish.

    C) (Gamma) Either a lower temperature or a lack of light makes it very hard to cultivate agricultural plants here (but not impossible). There are edible wild plants and seaweeds, but bread plants are few and far between. This could also represent waters that are relatively warm and shallow but far above the distant sea floor.

    The norm here s for Scaraquans to live a nomadic live cycle. They might even keep herds of swimming livestock.

    D) (Delta) This area is very deep but has life giving chemical vents (which are magically augmented in Scaraqua to be even more life giving than they are in the real world). Scaraquans need to deal with the lack of light and the potentially dangerous deep water pressures but there are a lot of fish and rough approximations of bread plants here.

    E) (Epislon) It's either too cold, too dark, too deep, or too hot. Edible plants are rare. Bread plants cannot grow at all and fish that can be caught and eaten are sparse. Livestock cannot survive here long.

    F) (Zeta) There is essentially no food here. It's probably too cold and too deep and too dark. Scaraquans need to carry all their food with them when traveling through here.

    Z) (Omega) There is something in these waters that is actively going to cause grievous harm or death to any Scaraquan swimming here without magical protection. Perhaps the water pressure is crushing, the waters are dangerously hot or cold, the waters could be deoxygenated or poisonous.


    So A and B waters would be hotly contested just as a matter of course, but it's possible that lesser waters could be hotly contested for some strategic reason.

    Class C or even E waters that represent a junction where two or more major ocean currents intersect near each other would be of great strategic value. An area poor in food could have great mineral or reagent that makes people want it.


    Given that the ocean is three dimensional, it's easily possible to have a patch of C with zones of D, E, and/or F below it.
     
  9. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Of course while I'm trying to force myself to write A Cobbler's Journey, I had a brainwave for Kontona. Something that has nothing to do with Nilen's landlocked adventure, but I have long despaired that I did not know what to do with Kontona (Nami's Scarquan counterpart).

    Then I had the brainwave that Nami's/Kontona signature power of weather control would be more potent at the surface of the sea then below the sea and everything clicked into place.

    [​IMG]
    Go to Scarterra Homepage
    Cult of the Storm
    We are the storm of change!

    The Cult of the Storm represents Kontona's most visible followers if not her most numerous followers.

    They believe that fomenting changing and removing barriers is good not only for individuals and societies but for the entire universe as a whole.

    Individual cultists have different means on bringing things together. Sometimes this is very peaceful and harmonious and sometimes this is very brutal and violent.
    Public Agenda
    To foment change and bring the Land and the Sea Closer together.
    Cosmological Views
    Their first core belief is that without change and conflict, a person will die. Even if they don't literally die, they soul will suffocate.This doesn't just apply to people, it also applies to society and the world as a whole.

    Some Storm Bringers legitimately believe they are helping others when they shake things up. Others don't really care and use this tenet as thin veil for their love of destruction and chaos. Some split the difference going about harsh actions with mechanical efficiency.

    Their second core belief is that Scarterra and Scaraqua should not be separate worlds. Land and Sea need each other.Also note that they gave the ;and a capital "L." The Cult of the Storm are not the first group nor the only group in Scaraqua to postulate that Land is a cosmic entity at least as potent as Sea Floor, but they are the first group to say that Land and Sea are symbiotically linked.

    As far as they are concerned, Scaraqua and Scarterra are only scarred because the two halves of the world/universe are sundered from each other.

    Priesthood
    The Cult of the Storm has a wide variety of Scaraquans in it, it is not dominated by any single aquatic race having many Astakalians, Merfolk, Karakhai, and Ojiongo among them among others.

    Most of their recruits are countercultural adolescents and young adults chafing at the traditions of the culture they are born in. To these rebellious youth, the idea of removing barriers and fomenting change is attractive. Also, a lot of them are curious and exploration minded and this is one of the few groups in Scaraqua "where swimming on land" is not only allowed but encouraged.

    While lots of groups in Scaraquan claim to be all inclusive, they usually have an informal pecking order that favors one group over the others. The Cult of the Storm may be one of Scaraqua's truly egalitarian organizations that actually live up to their ideas.

    This might because the priesthood is extremely decentralized. The group shares some dogma and rituals but they don't really have a true command structure to speak of. They tend to operate in small groups either following their most charismatic or intelligent member.

    Granted Divine Powers
    Non-spellcasters among the Cult of the Storm never are given much respect or authority. Nearly every member of the cult wants to become a theurgist.

    New recruits often want to develop the piety required to become a theurgist as quickly as possible and seek to prove their worthiness for Kontona's blessing by taking huge risks on behalf of the Cult. Essentially the Cult's attitude is to become a theurgist or literally die trying.

    This risk taking behavior rarely goes away when the Cultists becomes a theurgist.

    Because the Stormbringers wish to bring Scaraqua and Scarterra closer together, this means that Augmentation magic is prized above all others because it allows Scaraquans to survive on land and Scarterrans to survive in the sea.

    Of course the Cult of the Storm would haven't gotten their moniker if they didn't occasionally make storms. The divine sphere of Weather is also very popular. Part of their philosophy that the land and sea should come together is motivated by pragmatism. A lot of Weather magic is less potent below the waves than above them.

    Political Influence & Intrigue

    Most of the Scaraquan powers that be including the Oshamni Empire, especially the Oshmani, believe that the Stormbringers are either an annoyance or a plague. The Cult of the Storm is often violently persecuted by the Princes of the Sea just because the powers that be like the Status Quo and want to preserve stability and not unbalance things just because of some crazy dogma.

    This loathing is not universal, however. while all the Stormbringers value change for the sake of change, not all of them are violent juvenile anarchists. Genuine political reformers can find members of the Cult of the Storm coming out of the depths to offer clandestine aid.


    In the Oshamni Senate the Shallows Versus Deeps Political Debate is ongoing. The Stormbringers are very much in line with the Shallows and want to see greater ties between Scarterra and Scaraqua. Sometimes this can lead to (clandestine) alliances, but often Shallow aligned Senators among the loudest voices demanding harsh actions against the Stormbringers before their methods and strategies differ in extreme fashions.


    At first glance, the Cult of the Storm is so small one would guess that they don't have the numbers or organization to have any political sway in Scaraqua, but they do have something other Scaraquans want, often want badly. They have a lot of Scarterran manufactured goods. Sometimes they get this by trading for it, other times they sink ships and loot them (which is technically bringing Scarterrans and Scaraquans together!), but either way the Stormbringers are usually rich in land goods.


    I might create a more benign, less extremist cult of Kontona later, but this is a good baseline.
     
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  10. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    I liked this whole article.

    I think that this would be a very realistic thing to do, as historically religions have had extremists even when the actual texts for the religion have been benign themselves. (Christian Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, etc.)
     
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  11. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Except for the Astalakians (crab people) and to a lesser extant the Ojiongo (squid people), most Scaraquans are not literate. The Oshamni Empire (Water Rome) is trying to encourage literacy as of a few hundred years ago, and some of the Oshamni's competitors are following suit.

    But for the most part Scaraquan groups would have oral traditions more than written texts. I think oral tradition could change faster. I'm also not 100% sure violent religious groups are offshoots of peaceful religions. I think it's equally possible to have peaceful offshoots of warlike religions.

    It's easier to come up with fringe cults than it is to come up with mainstream religious groups. At some point soon I need to figure out which religions are popular in Water Rome. Even real world ancient Rome had a lot of regional variation in their religion if Rome tried to make their culture universal. The legion itself also had a bunch of cults and splinter movements such as the Cult of Mithras.

    The Seeyirah (daughters of the sea) are gong to be the primary deities of water Rome but I don't know if the Seeyirah should have a unified priesthood or if there should be three competing priesthoods. Probably both.

    As of now I'm leaning towards the Oshamni Empire attempting to force different religious groups to work together and share facilities where they jockey for position while pretending to get along in public.

    I figure this would create two factions for most of the deities in Water Rome, a pro-establishment and anti-establishment faction for Enosha, Mubete, Taedi, Resona, and Mangcha. I'm not sure if the other four would bother joining them or not. Priests and priestesses of Dalgari and Heekma are probably so rare that every individual associated with them is a faction of one.


    I did update my favored spheres. Note that I have thirteen divine spheres of magic and any divine spell caster can in theory learn any or all of these but every divine spell caster gets a difficulty break in their favor for their deity's three favorite spheres.

    Maylar god of hunters and warriors has Animal, Hexing, and Wrath. I figure Bellusk goddess of sharks and apex predators would have the same.

    Zarthus has Augmentation, Crafts, and Hexing. I figured Dalgari is not as handiwork minded and Scaraquans associate the sky gods with knowledge so I swapped out Crafts for Divination.

    Mera's favored spheres are Healing, Protection, and Purification. Enosha is a little bit less Pollyanna than Mera, but Enosha is still a gentle mother protective figure, so their favored spheres are the same.

    Whether the sun deity is the goddess Khemra or the god Heekma, they are both wise, haughty, and a bit overbearing. Their favored domains are Divination, Purification, and Wrath.

    Nami's favored spheres are Divination, Hexing, and Weather. Kontona is less reflective and more action oriented than Nami so her spheres are Augmentation, Hexing, and Weather.

    Hallisan is pretty militant with Augmentation, Crafts, and Wrath. Mangcha is more of a gentle builder and is very pro-literacy and wisdom, so I swapped out Wrath for Divination.

    Korus is a wise, somewhat aloof nature god. Mubete is a wise somewhat aloof nature goddess. Their domains remaining Animal, Divination, and Plant.

    Resona might be a bit less conniving than Phidas but they have the same spheres Crafts, Protection, and Purification.

    Greymoria's spheres are Crafts, Hexing, and Necromancy. Taedi is less focused on magic (and crafting magical items) and while Greymoria lashes out like a petulant child, Taedi is a careful schemer. I swapped out Crafts for Divination.

    In Scarterra, it's possible although rare for a divine spell caster powered by the Nine collectively. I can explicitly stated that it's impossible for a Scarterran caster to be powered by > 1 and < 9 deities. I'm not sure if I should apply this rule to Scaraqua or not. It would be almost impossible for a Scaraqua to worship all of nine deities in roughly equal proportions and there are lots of Scaraquans that worship the Seeyirah equally or the Sons of the Sea Floor equally. I doubt many Scaraquans would venerate the Sons of the Sky with enough fervor to be able to generate spells.

    Hypothetically spellcasters powered by the Seeyirah would be able to pick three from among Augmentation, Animal, Divination, Protection, Purification, and maybe Spirit Magic though that might be the best sphere I have so I'd be reluctant to let anyone take that as a favored sphere.
     
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  12. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Hopefully you will like this one. I'm detailing another small Scaraquan cult.

    Cult of the Shark
    The goddess Bellusk is the goddess of sharks and apex predators. She is credited with creating the Karakhai, aka sharkmen, and while there are a few exceptions, most Karakhai worship Bellusk as their primary if not sole deity. The Karakhai priests and priestesses of Bellusk are called the Samearu.

    The Cult of the Shark represents followers of Bellusk who are (mostly) not Karakhai. Hence the Cult has the derogatory nickname "Faux Sharks." The Cultists themselves prefer to call themselves the Teeth of Bellusk, but that hasn't caught on anywhere else. The Cult of the Shark is almost entirely contained within a subculture of the Oshamni Empire, mainly among professional soldiers.

    The Faux Sharks follow the tenets of Bellusk and seek to cultivate strength, courage, cunning and tenacity. All of these are tempered by loyalty to comrades and loyalty to the Oshamni Empire.

    Demography And Population

    Most members of the Cult are Merfolk. The distant second is Astakalians followed by a few unusually Oshamni loyal Karakhai an the rare bloodthirsty Ojiongo.

    The Cult of the Shark is only matriarchal in the sense that they follow a goddess. They are technically egalitarian, but a noticeable majority of their members are male. In some ways this is a counter culture to the Oshamni Empire as a whole which is officially matriarchal. The Cult of the Shark gives male soldiers a hierarchy where they have more advancement opportunities.

    Foreign Relations
    There is a damning rumor whispered in Oshmani forums is that the Faux Sharks are conspiring with Karakhai tribes abroad to bring down the Empire.

    This is pretty far from the truth. Since most members of the Cult of the Shark keep their membership secret, a great many Karakhai are unaware that Bellusk has any non-Karakhai followers at all. Those that are aware of it find the idea of Merfolk pretending to be sharks to be literally laughable.

    If the Karakhai is not favorably disposed towards the Oshamni Empire, the best treatment a Faux Shark can expect to receive is to be treated like an honored opponent. Essentially the attitude is "if you want to claim a shark's strength, prove you can fight like one Merman!"

    Divine Origins
    The Cult of the Shark began small. While some Karakhai can be bribed or bullied into serving the Oshmani Empire on a temporary basis, very few Karakhai clans swore fealty to the Imperial Sting Ray outright.

    Of those those that did a charismatic Samearu began encouraging more assimilation between the Oshamni Karakhai and the rest of the Empire, eventually recruiting a small number of warriors interested in learning about the Mother of Sharks, the apex predators of all seas. After the founding Samearu died, his (mostly Merfolk) disciples carried on his teachings but generation after generation the teachings were filtered through a non-Karakhai lens.

    Tenets Of Faith

    The members of the Teeth of Bellusk are expected to train themselves physically and mentally to be strong, brave, tough, tenacious, cunning killing machines. This might is tempered by loyalty to other Cultists so their strength can directed at exterior foes rather than go towards infighting.

    Ethics

    With their focus on strength and cunning, machismo culture is encouraged, but loyalty is encouraged too.

    While friendly scraps are routine, battles to the death between different members of the Cult of the Shark are frowned on except in very rare formal duels usually involving the rank of Khan or Grand Khan.

    Worship

    The Cult of the Shark only inducts warriors and requires a violent initiation to join though exactly what the initiation involved is a secret.

    The cult has several ranks each with it's own secret initiation ritual.

    Beyond initiation to various ranks, the cult has a lot of secret worship rituals, to solidify brotherhood (unisex brotherhood), strength, and loyalty.

    It's rumored that some of their rituals involve ritualized murder or consumption of flesh of mortal flesh, but this is not proven.

    Priesthood

    Magical prowess is valued but rank and status are primarily determined by years of seniority and combat prowess.

    The ranks are Initiate, Fin, Tooth, Jaw, Shark, Khan, and Great Khan.

    As of yet, no Faux Shark has attempted to claim the title Great Khan. Supposedly the majority of Faux Sharks who seek the rank of Khan die and most Faux Shark Khans have died in battle pretty quickly after attaining the rank.

    Granted Divine Powers

    Most of the cultists do not have magic powers, showing their devotion and strength through literal strength honing their bodies into "living temples of the shark goddess" and honing their combat training and instincts.

    They do have some theurgists among them. All of Bellusk's favored spheres of Animal, Hexing, and Wrath are highly valued, as is Augmentation.

    Those with Animal magic will often summon sharks to fight beside them or even shapechange into sharks.

    Healing and Protection are valued for their utilitarian use but it's frowned on to overly rely on them.

    Powers that prevent a warrior from fighting are frowned on including Necromancy and Spirit Magic which often has the spell caster hiding behind summoned minions.

    Political Influence & Intrigue

    Technically, the Cult of the Shark is heresy to the Oshamni Empire, but the Cult of the Shark usually preaches loyalty to the Empire, or at least the Imperial Army, so the potentates of the Oshmamni Empire turn a blind eye to the Cult's "forbidden" rituals.

    Despite rumors of the Faux Sharks secret rituals being abhorrent, no one in the Oshamni Empire is super eager to alienate a cult made up of some of the fiercest and most ruthless warriors in the empire.

    Also, the cult is mostly secretive. They don't normally wear visible signals and maintain a normal public persona. Some rumor that shark teeth necklaces are a common symbol, but that is an extremely common adornment in Scaraqua hardly limited to Bellusk cults.

    Sects

    There are two political extremes within the cult withmost Faux Sharks falling somewhere between.One extreme values loyalty to the Oshamani as the absolute all Shark Cultists should strive for. The other side wants to put loyalty to the Cult above loyalty to the Empire and wants to reach out to Karakhai outside the Empire.

    So far, loyalty to the Cult and loyalty to the Empire rarely contradict each other, but that could easily change if the Oshamni Senate or the other potentates of the Empire decide to stop turning a blind eye to the not-so-secret cult of would-be sharks swimming in their midst.
     
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  13. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Do you want to see more Scaraquan cults? No? Well too bad!

    [​IMG]
    Go to Scarterra Homepage
    Cult of the Kraken
    The Cult of the Kraken is a radical faction of Taedi worshipers who hope to see their goddess reign supreme over all.

    Demography And Population
    The Cult of the Kraken does not actively recruit new members very often. In most cases they scout out more mainstream worshipers of Taedi and try to recruit the more radically inclined members, assuming they seem able to keep secrets and are willing to work within a hierarchy.

    The vast majority of the Cult of the Kraken are Ojiongo, it is not forbidden to recruit a non-Ojiongo but it is rare to the point of practically being unheard of. Most of their non-Ojiongo members are installed as spies somewhere.
    Foreign Relations
    Nearly every civilized nation in Scaraqua that is aware of the Cult of the Kraken is opposed to it, but not everyone is vehemently opposed. While most agree that the Cult of the Kraken is up to no good, it's a debate on whether they are genuine threat or a bunch of ineffectually posturing overly flamboyant schemers.
    Mythology & Lore
    The First Kraken was created as a monster to force Taedi's will on everyone and everything beneath the waves.

    The Cult of the Kraken hopes to resurrect the first Kraken or create some new kind of force that can tip the balance of power in Taedi's favor for millennia to come.
    Divine Origins
    The Cult of the Kraken claims to predate the First Kraken, having helped their mistress Taedi create the First Kraken.
    Worship
    Worship is in secret, occurring in isolated locations and often involving harsh act such as mortal sacrifice.
    Priesthood
    Most recruits are theurgists or favored souls of Taedi.As part of initiation, new members need to perform an extremely difficult and personally costly act of loyalty. The few members inducted without divine magic from Taedi need to go even further.

    These acts of loyalty are usually highly illegal, so any apostate members that turn on the Cult of the Kraken have to deal with not only their former compatriots but also face mundane law enforcement and societal shunning as their crimes are brought to light.

    A lot of members of the Cult of the Kraken hide in plain sight masquerading as members of less extreme Taedi worshipers. Other blend with the general populace or do not maintain a public profile at all living in absolute secrecy.
    Granted Divine Powers
    All magic is prized, arcane magic is also prized. A disproportionately high number of the Cult of the Kraken is made up of dual arcane and divine spell casters. It is often the case that dual casters often focus heavily on their arcane magic, often possessing only rudimentary divine spell casting powers, just enough to prove that they have Taedi's favor.

    Magical versatility is prized, but the magic that The Cult of the Kraken tends to focus on most often is necromancy.
    Political Influence & Intrigue
    The Cult of the Kraken will often work to seed chaos and dissension in many political and ecclesiastical powers that be. They oppose strong institutions because strong institutions would be better able to resist Taedi's might than weak institutions.

    The Kraken Cultists will usually exacerbate existing political divisions in an institution and often back the underdog in ongoing conflicts.

    Political interference is just a hobby. The main goal of the Cult of the Kraken is the hording of mystical power and arcane secrets.
    Sects
    The Cult of the Kraken organization is largely decentralized operating in several mostly independent cells. Officially they are all united, but unofficially there are factions that act as cults of personality as various cells are loyal to the vision of certain very famous, very powerful, and or very charismatic leaders.

    Much as the case of many Scaraquan organizations, the Cult of the Kraken is caught up in it's own version of the Shallows Versus Deeps Political Controversy that flusters more public institutions.

    Individual Kraken cult leaders all have their own differing views on what the appropriate level of interaction between their members and Scarterra is. Though when they do interact, it tends to not go well for the Scarterrans often ending in Scarterrans being drowned as a sacrifice for the goddess. Though, interactions between the Cult of the Kraken and Greymoria's Children are often based on mutual benefit.

    Another debate among the Cult of the Kraken is whether or not the Cult should reach out to the literal Kraken. Modern Kraken are much smaller than the First Kraken but they are still forces to be reckoned with. However they don't work well with others, even those who should be spiritual brethren.
     
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  14. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Here's my first attempt at a Scaraquan religious group that does not represent an extremist fringe.

    Imperial Priesthood of the Seeyirah
    The Imperial Priesthood of the Seeyirah is the official state religion of the Oshamni Empire.
    Demography And Population
    The Imperial Priesthood of the Oshmani is intended to be representational of the entire populace, so the priesthood's members tends to encompass a relatively proportional mix of all the races and ethnic groups within the Oshamni Empire.

    Like the Oshamni Empire as a whole, it is stereotypical to see the priesthood lead by Merfolk politicians, with Ojiongo advisors, and Astakalian seneschals.
    Mythology & Lore
    Most commonly known major theological stories involve all three of the Seeyirah interacting with each other. Most Scaraquans, at least most Scaraquans in the Oshamni Empire venerate all the Seeyirah.
    Divine Origins
    The priesthoods of Enosha, Mubete, and Taedi formerly had fully independent priesthoods in every undersea nation, including the Oshamni Empire.

    Some time ago, the Oshamni Empire was wracked by a three way theological war of intrigue and assassinations. Eventually the Senate and the military intervened and essentially ordered the three priesthoods to play nice at the point of a spear.
    Cosmological Views
    The Sea is the source of all life including the Seeyirah.

    Scaraquans are ultimately the children of the Seeyirah and thus are the grandchildren of Sea.

    Thus both Sea and the Seeyirah deserve the respect of all Scarquans.
    Worship
    Worship tends to be highly formal and regimented on a tight schedule based on religious calendars.

    Worship services are normally presided over by one priest or priestess at a time and this presiding priest is not normally part of any triumvirate (though he or she almost certainly answers to a triumvirate).
    Political Influence & Intrigue
    Ecclesiastical proclamations from every level of the Imperial priesthood come from the triumvirates. A triumvirate represents a priest or priestess of Enosha, Mubete, and Taedi of equal rank.

    Major decisions are voted on by the triumvirate with the Mubete member usually acting as the swing vote. In public the triumvirate and their minions try to appear cordial and unified but there is a lot of bickering, scheming, and horse trading behind the scenes.
    Sects
    All three of the Seeyirah, Enosha, Mubete, and Taedi have priestly orders that are directly subordinate to the Imperial Priesthood of the Seeyirah. Each goddess also has associated priestly orders that, on paper are completely independent from the Imperial Priesthood of the Seeyirah.

    Religious factions within and without the Empire frequently talk to each other behind closed doors, so all the members of the Triumvirates have at least a few minions outside the Imperial hierarchy whom they can call on with plausible deniability of caught. "Obviously this person erroneously believed she was pursuing the wishes of Insert goddess name here. If only she had talked to me, I would have talked her out of that foolish action against the Empire."

    \/Sidebar of Stats \/

    Type
    Religious, Organised Religion
    Currency
    Imperial pearls
    Legislative Body
    The highest ranking members of the priesthoods of Enosha, Mubete, and Taedi collectively serve in the Imperial Triumvirate which is the ultimate political voice of the Imperial Priesthood of the Seeyirah in the Entire Oshamni Empire.

    Below them are regional triumvirates which administer to the spiritual needs of a very large portion of the Oshamni Empire's territory.

    Below them are local triumvirates which administer to the spiritual needs of a small region such as a town or a larger rural region.

    The armed forces of the Empire also has it's own military triumvirate coordinating magical assistance to the army.
    Parent Organization
    Oshamni Empire
    Deities
    Official Languages
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
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  15. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I am pleased with my homebrew races of the kalazotz and the tengku. They are somewhat inspired by the Nycter and the kenku of D&D, but I have expanded on them a lot adding dwarf, Mayan folklore, and my own Nine based folklore to kalazotz and adding a lot of Ferengi and a dash of Native American folklore to my Tengku.

    I brought up Scarnoctis an alternative name to Scarsubterra or Scarcaverna or Hollow Earth, and no one commented on. Maybe I don't want to develop an extensive Underdark, but I am going to have a moderate sized underground realm. Anyway one of the beings in my underground will be based on Nezumi.

    I don't know if I want to use the name Nezumi or not. I can legally do so, Nezumi are ratmen of ancient Asian folklore present in both China and Japan (though they seem to feature more prominently in Japanese folklore). If I come up with a better name than Nezumi, I will use it.

    My Plan in 20 Words
    My plan is to make the Nezumi physically resemble Skaven, but be actually benign and also in tune with nature.

    The fantasy world of Rakugan and worlds based on Rakugan has an interesting take on Nezumi. Rakugan borders a tainted land called the Shadowlands. Without magical protection, the Shadowlands will magically mutate and corrupt the minds, bodies and souls of those who enter it.

    Monsters and evil spirits native to the Shadowlands have little difficulty entering the uncorrupted lands of Rakugan to kick some faces in.

    Because it is really hard to lead offensives to the Shadowlands, there isn't much the civilized nations can do to stop hordes of monsters coming in from the Shadowlands.

    Nezumi are interesting in that they are the only creature in Rakugan that is totally immune to the corrupting influence of the Shadowlands. They help the civilized powers by acting as scouts and sentries. The nations of Rakugan are very hidebound traditionalists and are kind of grossed out by the Nezumi's rat-like habits but they put up with it because the Nezumi are very valuable allies.

    So my plan is that Scarterran Nezumi are going to have very good ears and noses and be pretty nimble. Their most noteworthy trait is that they are very resistant to disease and magic. They are even slightly resistant to friendly magic.

    Their basic backstory is that Korus believed he was neglecting Scarnoctis for too long and created Nezumi to be his eyes and ears.

    The planetary core of Scarterra/Scaraqua is the elemental plane and spews raw elements into the planet.

    This can create hazards such as wind tunnels, spontaneous floods, or even molten metal, but a less obvious threat is magic laced with magical energy. For better or worse it can create elemental based mutations and the like such as turning common trolls into fire trolls, water trolls, earth trolls or air trolls. Essentially this is elemental ethnicity on steroids. If a being absorbs too much elemental magic too quickly it can erode their sanity.

    So Scarterran Nezumi are going to be able to handle an almost infinite amount of exposure to magical resonance. They are not going to be immune to rivers of lava, wind tunnels, and sudden floods but they are going to be nimble, resistant to poison, have keen senses, and able to hold their breath a long time.

    The Scarterran Nezumi are going to be split into different tribes or clans with slightly different outlooks but for the most part they are going to be going to be generally friendly, but a little bit isolationist. I could easily throw in a few nasty and mean Nezumi tribes or I create a separate but related species like I have with the Camazotz/Kalazotz.

    The mostly undeveloped continent of Umera is going to be loosely inspired by Eastern fantasy settings, so it is almost certainly going to have lots of Nezumi in it. As the quintessential survivors I think Scarterran Nezumi would do well on the mini-continent of Khemarok which is loosely based on Australia.

    Scarterran Nezumi are probably going to present in the continent Penarchia. Again not very developed.

    As of now, I am leaning towards make kalazotz mostly present in West Colassia with maybe a tiny presence in East Colassia. and almost unheard of in the Southern Hemisphere. Scarterran Nezumi would be mostly present in Umera with some splinter groups in Penarchia and Khemarok and mostly unheard of in the northern hemisphere.

    That's not set in stone. I can always add new groups of bat people in the south or new groups of rat people in the north.

    Like the kalazotz, Scarterran Nezumi are not going to be super numerous. Apart from the Barony of Bats, kalazotz never make up more than 5% of a population. The tengku likewise are usually 2-3% of the population of the areas they live in though the tengku are going to be very wide spread. The tengku are a very old race in Scarterra and are very widespread.

    Anyway, open call for any suggestions on how to make my ratmen more engaging.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  16. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    How the Water Romans got crabs

    I haven’t published this as an article yet because I’m not sure how to organize it and I’m sure I’ll expand on this as I come up with more ideas. Also, while this kingdom is deeply tied to Water Rome, I don’t have a direct real world analogy. This is not Water Carthage or Water Greece, it’s just a kingdom of crustaceans.


    Undersea Kingdom of Cancer

    I named this after the crab based Zodiac sign in the real world. If I come up with a better name later, I’ll use it.

    The Kingdom of Cancer was an Astalakian dominated nation that used to be very powerful some time ago, after the city of Oshamanus was established, but before the Oshamni were a true political power. The Kingdom of Cancer stretched across the eastern edge of the Sea of Resona and the western edge of the Sea of Enosha.

    Before the Oshamni Empire was an actual empire, they were the city state of Oshamnus, made up of predominantly Merfolk. They gradually began absorbing the areas nearest to them either conquering them outright or establishing them as tributary or vassal states. The overwhelming majority of Oshamnus' population was Merfolk and the majority of their early conquests were also Merfolk dominated.

    At this point, the Oshmani controlled a large swath of the Sea of Enosha, the Oshamni were a sizeable republic now, too big of a power to ignore. The Oshamni began trading with the Kingdom of Cancer extensively, but a number of minor disagreements kept popping up and gradually getting worse.

    People argue about who started it, but disagreements escalated into brushfire conflicts which escalated into full on war. Maybe I’ll throw in a high profile assassination or a brutal massacre of unarmed civilians leading to full on war but eventually there was a point where the respective leaders of the Kingdom of Cancer and the Republic of Oshamni were really out for blood. Thus began the Cancer War. The first large scale protracted war the Oshamni ever had to deal with.


    The Cancer Crabs won a few impressive early victories as their massed troops brutally defeated the massed Merfolk of the Oshamni. Then a new general was appointed for the Oshamni, General Oppunata. Oppunata realized that with their thick shells and superior armament, fighting mass pitched battles against them was near suicidal. She decided not to engage in massed battle and instead chose to engage the Cancer Crabs in a series of small skirmishes relying on hit and run attacks taking full advantage of the Merfolk’s superior swim speed. Anytime the Astalakians massed a full army the Merfolk would withdraw then double back and hit the Scuttler’s supply lines.

    Within a few years the Oshmani Merfolk completely turned the tables inflicting terrible losses on the Cancer forces and forcing them to hole up in their fortifications. General Oppunata feinted an attack on the Cancer Kingdom’s leadership than revealed her true plan when Oshamni forces besieged a large number of the Astalakians nurseries essentially holding most of the young children of the Cancer nobility hostage and forcing a peace settlement.

    The Kingdom of Cancer retained its autonomy but agreed to pay the Oshamni a substantial annual tribute of weapons, armor, and tools.

    Two generations later, the heir apparent of the Kingdom of Cancer happened to be a big fan of Oshamni culture in rebellion against his curmudgeonly Merfolk hating father. Then the king suddenly died a somewhat mysterious death, and the Oshamni found a very friendly king leading their neighbor to the west.

    The young king gradually renegotiated the peace treaty his grandfather signed. The Kingdom of Cancer changed from being a tributary state into being a vassal state. The exchange of goods now more closely resembled reciprocal trade as opposed to an extortion racket. In return, the Oshamni military had freedom of movement through Cancer territory. The Oshamni also gained the right to call upon military aid from Cancer.

    In their early joint military campaigns, the Oshmani Merfolk and the Cancer Scuttlers became a very deadly combination in battle once both sides figured out the right combined arms formations and tactics. This led to a series of successful military campaigns. Over generations, this gradually caused preexisting grudges between the Cancer Crabs and the Oshamni Fishtails.

    Not everyone in the Kingdom of Cancer liked the new status quo, and an insurrection was planned, joining forces with a large number of conquered groups, disestablishment oriented cults, and other groups mad at the Oshamni. Due to a spy in their ranks, the attempt at an insurrection failed before it could really begin resulting in a lot of rebels being brutally executed. The King of Cancer was indirectly implemented as members of the royal family were among the rebels.

    When the blood tinted bubbles cleared, the king agreed to go into self-imposed exiled and the Kingdom of Cancer was transformed from a Vassal State to a full on Imperial Province.


    Originally the Kingdom of Cancer was over 90% made up of Astalakians, but now they are so integrated into the Oshamni Empire that a lot of Astalakians have emigrated out and a lot of other Scaraquans immigrated in. Now about two thirds of the Cancer Province is made up of crab people.

     
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  17. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Karakhai and real Sharks Revisted

    On page 20 I discussed types of sharks as a baseline for Karakhai with @Warden. At the point of writing I was behind the idea that most/all Karakhai should be based on the same type of real world shark. Either Hammerheads or Blue Sharks. Both are fairly strong and fast, have keen senses, and occasionally swim in schools (a relative rarity among sharks).

    Then later the muses led me to create an article about a group of Karakhai based on Greenland sharks. Relative to regular Karakhai, they have the powers of cold resistance and the power of smelling/tasting bad so giant monsters are not going to try to eat them. These are the Karakhai barbarians in the sparsely populated frigid waters of the north. I might add some in the south polar waters but in the real world, there aren't a lot of sharks there.

    Now it planted the idea that I need to create more Karakhai subspecies.

    If I want to create allegorical fantasy racism, I could easily have two mechanically identical races that feud for no reason other than they look different. One based on blue sharks and one based on hammerhead sharks. I don't see a compelling reason to have both blue Karakhai and hammerhead sharks. I think hammerheads are slightly cooler than blue sharks.

    I kind of built my Karakhai template around hammerheads. Hammerheads are probably going to be the default Karakhai seen in the most densely populated equatorial regions of Scaraqua, ie the Sea of Enosha, Sea of Resona, and Sea of Mangcha.

    Mako sharks are not the fastest fish in the sea but they are the fastest sharks. They also are far raning swimmers able to be found in a huge proportion of Earth's water. My current idea is that Mako Karakhai are the Karakhai of the Long Sea and Sea of Mubete. These are the places where Scaraquans in general are highly migratory just to survive.

    On average, Mako are smaller and weaker than the larger hammerheads, but faster and more nimble. Mako also have proportionally stronger bites. I'm not sure if I want to represent this mechanically by removing their Strength bonus, adding a Dex bonus, and giving them bonus damage to bite attacks. The Karakhai bite attack is mostly for fluff reasons. A Karakhai will normally fight with weapons whenever possible. Since a Karakhai's "bite" in most cases comes from the tip of a spear, I'm probably better off not docking their Strength stat.

    I could remove the Strength bonus for Mako Karakhai and replace it with a Dexterity bonus while also adding a bonus die (or two) to it's bite. For simplicity I think it would better to keep them mechanically the same as regular Karakhai and just recommend that they prioritize Dexterity.

    There are two other shark types I'm considering. The Great White is iconic in modern Western myth. A great white based Karakhai would be bigger, like a lot bigger. A great white Karakhai to regular Karakhai would be a lot like an ogre to humans. They probably would not swim in large packs like other Karakhai though I'm not sure they would be absolute loners.

    Real great white sharks often subsist primarily on marine mammals and thus they tend to stay near the surface of the water. By extension, great white Karakhai would be more likely to attack and eat Scarterrans. I'm not required to do this. Newly emerging data from marine biologists in the real world is that great white sharks routinely swim farther and deeper than originally believed. They seem to rely on hunting marine mammals near the surface of the water because of the confirmation bias. Humans don't normally witness great white sharks eating things 100 feet below the surface of the sea.


    Karakhai based on Bull Sharks are something I would throw in if I want river Karakhai, but I'm probably not going to do that, unless I want to come up with some kind of subterranean variant. Scarterra as of yet doesn't have a lot of wide and deep rivers comparable with the Amazon which I think would be the minimum necessary to sustain a population of Karakhai, even a small group.

    A bunch of other sharks look cool, but I cannot think of non-aesthetic reasons to include them.

    How Related are Karakhai to each other

    [​IMG]
    The idea of a Karakhai mating with a non-Karakhai is...horrifying.

    But the idea of Karakhai of different subspecies is weird but not horrifying (at least not to me). It is unscientific, but it could be justified by SCIENCE! If I create a bunch of different Karakhai types, someone is going to ask about cross breeding.

    The options I came up with are thus.

    1) Whatever split the Karakhai into subspecies was created by the shark goddess Bellusk long ago using divine magic and the Karakhai are forever divided hence forth. No intergroup mating is possible. No new Karakhai species will emerge ever barring new divine intervention.

    2) Karakhai of different types don't mate together, but Bellusk made all Karakhai spirits and bodies malleable. Karakhai pups are born as generic sharks with no distinguishing features. As they grow older they evolve into a different shark type.

    a) Perhaps via ambient magic or the whims of fate, It's possible although rare for a shark pup to develop into a different type from it's parents.

    b) Perhaps the shark pup develops the traits of the first ordinary shark they see.

    c) Perhaps they meet their spirit animal in a vision quest then they physically morph to match their new spirit animal.

    3) Bellusk made Karakhai from the same spiritual essence, so they can interbreed (that's a principle according to SCIENCE!, spiritual compatibility is what is necessary for crossbreeding more than genetics) Karakhai are humanoids first and sharks second. Humanoids have compatible biology. The offspring of a mixed mating could either a) randomly look like the mother or father, b) automatically look like the mother c) be a blend of both parent's traits.

    4) Like most half-breeds in Scarterra, Karakhai half-breeds are easy to create and fairly healthy to boot, BUT hybrids are nearly always sterile.

    I like 2b or 3b best, but I'm open to feedback.
     
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  18. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The scientific classification of the mako family is
    Isurus

    I have named the mako inspired Karakhai the Isuran. Here is the little blurb I wrote about them. I'm still on the fence on whether I want to give them an enhanced bite attack since based on the fluff I logically derived, the Isurans would have less reliable access to good weapons than other Karakhai, but it's far from impossible and the Rule of Cool (at least for me) states I want my Karakhai to wield serrated long daggers and short spears and save their bite attacks for finishing moves or desperation plays.


    Isuran Karakhai
    Isuran Karakhai are an ethnicity of Karakhai that physically resemble mako sharks.Compared to other Karakhai they are a little bit less muscular but they are leaner and swim faster. Physiologically the differences are not that extreme. Their main differences are cultural.The main difference while all Karakhai do not like to sit still and tend to live migratory lifestyle, the Isuran Karakhai really really migrate often swimming thousands of miles every year. Their tribes tend to be a bit smaller than the Karakhai average.

    While they are not especially hostile to civilized nations they certainly are not friendly and prefer the wide open waters of the more remote areas of Scarterra. A few will trade with other Scaraquans for weapons and tools but the items they manufacture tend to be pretty crude usually fashioned out of bone or coral or scavenged from ship wrecks.

    Speaking of ship wrecks. It's not unheard for Isurans to attack Scarterran ships but it's not common. But they do cover a lot of ground so if a ship sinks somewhere due to an unrelated reason there is a good chance a tribe of Isurans will run across it before anyone else does unless the ship in question sank into unusually deep waters. Isuran Karakhai, like most of their kind prefer to stay in the sunlit regions of Scaraqua.



     
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  19. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    And now for the Hammerheads

    Sphyrnian Karakhai
    The Spyrnian Karakhai are hammerhead Karakhai. The Spyrnian Karakhai are the most commonly seen variant of Karakhai to the point that for many Scaraquans, Spyrnian Karakhai are the default Karakhai. They are especially common in the equatorial region of Scaraqua (which is the most densely populated region of Scaraquan for almost every race).

    Spyrnian Karakhai are usually nomads but they tend to stick to small and predictable migration routes. As a result, Spyrnian Karakhai clans and tribes are generally more territorial than other Karakhai. This causes conflict between the various Spyrnian tribes as they compete with each other for territory and sometimes clash with other Scaraquan races.

    While they are fiercely territorial, Spyrnian Karakhai are a little bit more social and diplomatic than other Karakhai. They can and do negotiate trade deals, established borders, or mercenary relationships with various non-Karakhai undersea powers. A small number of individuals and clans have even formally allied themselves with the Oshamni Empire or other Scaraquan civilized powers.
     
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  20. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

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    Have you played Mass Effect?

    There was one alien type (I forget the name) that don't mate per se but the entire race are females, they have some kind of a magical/energy based link and then from that they get impregnated (rather than intercourse) and the child is entirely the same alien species with no cross-breeding.

    Anyways, you could take your magic idea and apply it to this. Maybe if they get emotionally close enough / develop enough liking for another species then they could produce a half-breed?

    Just an idea.
     
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