Friday, September 16, 2011


All work and no play makes me a lousy poster.

Anyway, at one point I've said that Headless Horse Archer is not a single-campaign blog. Now, I'm not running multiple campaigns presently, but that's no reason not to post a few slightly rambling paraghraps for a whole different setting I want to run one day:

You're a member of the People, and live in one of several small communities along the Coast. You fish, whale and hunt elk and seal - sometimes other animals, too. Maybe you're a student of the Angakok, the wise old man who tells the laws and old stories.
If you were to walk along the Coast in one direction, you'd eventually get to the land of the Stone Folk. It's a magical land where the ground is warm enough to melt the snow in many spots, and jets of scalding water jump into the air. They say if you can steal a hot rock from the Stone Folk, it will never go cold; but they guard their land jealously. If you walk the other direction, you'll get to the land of the Forest Folk. It's an endless forest and the People could certainly use all that wood, but the Forest Folk are elusive and play evil tricks on those who enter their land. And if you were to head inland, you'd cross the areas where the elk migrate and make your way to the Icy Plains. No one goes there, but the Angakok knows stories of dangerous monsters and great villages made of stone and ice where the people feel no cold.

One day, the Midnight Sun disappeared, and there were no more mornings. Along the Coast, there was still enough light to get by - there's a stronger, hotter sun somewhere across the sea, and the light that falls from it into the water is carried here by the currents. Nevertheless, the Angakok says that the Midnight Sun's disappearance is an evil omen, and the hunters say strange creatures are appearing where the elk are.

Then two people came out of the inland riding on great beasts, wearing no clothes against the cold: the Mammoth Mages Jabmal and Kathmal, bearing ill news.

The Midnight Sun, they said, was betrayed by a cabal of evils. The winged solar disk now lies chained to the bottom of a black lake in the Uttermost South, and its capturers walk the Icy Plains unopposed. They are the beast Noctis, the bodiless spirit Ice Fear, and the leader of the cabal, Father Illwinter. The men fled from the darkened Icy Plains, most of the dying but a few making their way to secret places of refuge under volcanoes and in ancient underground fortresses. As the inland men fell, the Cold Folk rose again after millenia of hiding, walking with Father Illwinter and occupying the now empty human citadels. Once he learns that there is still light along the Coast, it will be only a matter of time before Father Illwinter comes for the People.

The Mammoth Mages gave your people their two greatest magics, fire and metal, then went back into the darkness. Now many young hunters and fishermen are putting down the harpoon, the net and the paddle, and take up the Firebrand and the Hammer. The Angakok says that the humongous shrimp-goddess who lives in the sea has not yet taken a side in the coming conflict, and that a new people are bound to appear on the Coast, coming from the distant cities of walls and towers across the sea. What he doesn't know is that the paladin-conquistadores of the Pax Dei and cleric-sorcerers of the Vox Dei are only coming to extinguish the danger they fear might cross over into their own lands, and to claim the land for the One True Church; the notion saving the People is a distant third in their minds.

So there it is. It should provide plentiful opportunities for dungeon crawling (abandoned ice cities, underground shelters, ice caves), wilderness, and possibly even powermongering and diplomacy with the One True Church. I imagine that PC classes would be:
- Hunter, basically a ranger-type.
- Angakok, a shaman with healing, blessings and curses, and maybe some sort of herbology/alchemy skill.
- Fire Mage, the disciples of Jabmal, a mixture of blasty wizard and offensive cleric (since fire and heat would have a similar effect on creatures of the Uttermost South as holiness on undead).
- Blacksmith, the dedicated fighter.
- Renegade Cold Folk who's turned against Father Illwinter, a decent warrior with cold-related magic powers (and maybe really a double agent)
- Vox Dei cleric, whom I imagine to have a mixture of traditionally wizardy and clerical spells, but with a stylistic emphasis of voice: commanding voice, wall-breaking shout, etc..
- Maybe Pax Dei paladin. Likely no magical powers. Basically a fighter who starts with fine steel equipment far beyond the Blacksmiths' ability to make, but is totally unacclimatised to the climate. He starts out as a strong combatant, but if his equipment is worn down or lost, he's just fighter with worse cold and magic saves than the locals.