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Friday, September 30, 2011

Blood Wall (Dungeon)


Blood Wall

A great wall eight miles long with a large tower every half-mile for a total of sixteen towers.  It lies in the wild hills of southern Morvaen, just north of the Country of Arduin.  This horrid snaking length of masonry is so bloodstained that it is rust red from the tens of cycles of bloodshed on its stone.

Since few travel this path except the military, the curious and the adventurous, not much is known about it.  Still, they say death dances a gory stamp along the wall and hatred grows in its shadows.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Arduin Courier Service

Arduin Courier Service

    In addition to the regular coach service, Arduin has an efficient and fairly inexpensive courier service as well.  While most traders will gladly carry a letter or documents for a fee, Arduin enjoys a form of pony express that connects all its major cities and large towns.  Lesser-populated areas are freely accessible as well but the courier network takes longer and is more expensive to reach those areas.  The system works through a network of mounted relay messengers.  Riders stop at carriage houses, inns, and relay stations to refresh their horses, exchange them for new ones, or pass on their dispatches and messages to another messenger for the remainder of the distance.
    When couriers dispatch to less populated areas they will ride on the regular coach service for added security.  Couriers will also do this to safeguard large dispatches or bulk deliveries.
    A standard letter (about 5 sheets of paper) costs a copper penny to send between any of the major cities in Arduin.  From a large town or city to another doubles this price.  It costs a silver penny to take a letter to anything of smaller population (excluding the Mickleback Mountains.  It costs 2 silver pennies going into or exiting the mountains).  All packages are gauged by weight or bulk.  The going rate is one pound or one-quarter cubic foot equals one half-crown, with a maximum 50 lbs and 10 cubic feet (breakable into 2 cubic feet boxes).
    Arduin Couriers can usually delivery within two days to one major city to another.  Four days for any of the large towns to another town or city.  To anything smaller, they will give no less then an estimate of 2 weeks to one month for delivery, depending on distance and the place in question.

Quartermass (Arduin City)


Quartermass was established after the Arduin Accords at a crossroads where old paths from the past and new ones built by the feet of inhabitants and trade crossed. 

Originally it was a wild, sprawling town of wooden and earth buildings located two miles distant from where it currently sits. It gained royal attention when over 200 of its inhabitants died in a yearlong period of terror brought on by feral, winged wolves, led by what some think is a Lupogaunt. 

Crown espoused hunters and foresters led the mass hunt against terrorists and tracked them down to the shattered stone ruins and finally put an end to the nightmare. The new governor of the town, to appease the frightened inhabitants of her town, enlisted the services of a band of engineers, the Autulmoq, who had worked on the stonework of Talismond√© and other grand cities, to level the stone ruin. 

Guarded by the troops of the land they fulfilled this daunting task, using stone automatons for the labor. A year into the job, the crown further endorsed this work by ceding the land to the governor with the stipulation that she dwell in it for two score years. Daunted, but not willing to give up this boon, she did exactly thus and slowly encouraged those in the old town to move to this new location.

It was a twenty year process but the end result was a sound foundation and a crude, but working subterranean and open air sewage system. This was formed out of chambers deemed too deep or dangerous to fill and conduits formed afterward.

Continents of Khaas

There are a total of seven continents on the world of Khaas. They are the North Polar Cap, Fhedlspaera, Khaora, Extaercara, Archaela, Laenkrwat, and the South Polar Cap.

    • The North Polar Cap – Commonly referred to as the “First” continent, it is an exceedingly cold place, approximately 5,000 miles across with its center at the northern pole of the planet. Only those beings or creatures that can withstand the most extreme cold temperatures populate this area.
    • Fhedlspaera – The second continent is now only a chain and large collection of islands located in the southern hemisphere. This continent is also referred to as the “sunken” continent; over a number of years, some 200,000 years ago, the land itself sunk below the ocean. What caused the land to sink is still a mystery to this day. What remains of the second continent and its peoples are contained amongst the island chain that stretches from the equator nearly to the South Polar Cap (the 7th continent) and the many other smaller islands scattered about the southern hemisphere. Generally, the climate of the islands varies from tropical at the equator to downright cold for the islands closest to the South Polar Cap.
    • Khaora – The third continent is a landmass measuring over 3,000 miles long by 2,200 miles wide located in the northern hemisphere. It is the home to the country of Arduin. Furthermore, it is the most populated, most civilized, and most diverse in regard to different cultures, peoples, and beings.
    • Extaercara – Being the fourth continent, it is located almost on the opposite side of the world from Khaora. It is also known as the “World Spine”, or as others have called it, “The Rim of the World”. A narrow continent measuring 500 to 800 miles wide by 14,000 miles long, it stretches nearly from the North Polar Cap to the South Polar Cap. It is extremely mountainous, making it a veritable wasteland. The small amount of habitable land is located where the slopes of the mountains meet the oceans. It is at these places where a number of city-states have sprung up over the many years, primarily on the eastern side of the continent.
    • Archaela – It was once the jewel of the world; its remains are basically a radioactive barren wasteland as a result of the holocaust some 21,000 plus years ago. It measures 6,000 miles long and 1,600 miles wide. Although the eastern side of the continent is being repopulated as the radioactivity has diminished to tolerable levels, this continent remains a very dangerous place.
    • Laenkrwat – The sixth continent measures some 4,500 miles long by approximately 2,800 miles wide, and is located about a quarter away around the world from the Fhedlspaera and Khaora, sitting nearly on top of the equator. It is a very hot, dry, and deadly place with temperatures typically ranging from 120 degrees Fahrenheit at night, to 180 degrees during the daytime hours, save for the winter months when temperatures range from 90 to 150 degrees. The continent is dominated by two major features, “The Godslost Desert” and “The Great Iron Fire Swamp”. It is also rumored to be the location of “Godshammer”, an ancient fortress that was once home to the mysterious “Lifebringer Cult”.
    • The South Polar Cap – The seventh and final continent is an exceedingly cold place, measuring roughly 6,000 miles across (slightly larger than the North Polar Cap), and its center is at the southern pole of the planet.



  • You can find detailed information about all the major continents in “The World Book of Khaas: Legendary Lands of Arduin” available from Emperors Choice Games and Miniatures Corp.

Arduin: the country, the map +

The Kingdom of Arduin:



Arduin is a small country located on the continent of Khaora (the third continent). It is totally landlocked, and is generally shaped like a catcher’s mitt with an extra large thumb sticking up to the northeast. It is roughly 275 miles wide at its widest point on the east to west axis, and some 250 north to south, not counting the “thumb”.

The north borders on the countries of Falohyr, Khorsar, and a small part of Morvaen. Along those borders rise the Grey Mountains (to 16,000 feet), the Thunder Mountains (to 22,500 feet), and the Prismatic Mountains (to 13,850 feet).

Arduin is a small country located on the continent of Khaora (the third continent). It is totally landlocked, and is generally shaped like a catcher’s mitt with an extra large thumb sticking up to the northeast. It is roughly 275 miles wide at its widest point on the east to west axis, and some 250 north to south, not counting the “thumb”.

The north borders on the countries of Falohyr, Khorsar, and a small part of Morvaen. Along those borders rise the Grey Mountains (to 16,000 feet), the Thunder Mountains (to 22,500 feet), and the Prismatic Mountains (to 13,850 feet).

The soil is very rich, and almost all exposed rock is of igneous (volcanic) type. This soil layer is generally 60 to 100 feet deep in most areas, and of a dark, moist, and aromatic consistency. Also within the borders of Arduin are hundreds of hills ranging from less than 100 feet high to 1,000 feet or more. There are also dozens of small mountains in the 2,000 to 8,000 foot range sprinkled, seemingly haphazardly, about the landscape.

The countryside is heavily forested with oak, redwood, cedar, willow, ash, yew, and elm trees. Furthermore, there are also fairly large stands of walnut, cherry, apple, and other types of fruit trees. Most of these types, however, are in cultivated orchards near settlements. In those areas that are not forest, hills, or mountains, there are rolling plains of 4 to 8 foot high pampas grass. Wildflowers, berries of all kinds, clover, wild rice, cattails, and every other kind of plant imaginable can be found, usually in abundance, throughout Arduin.
Finally, there are seven major swamps and bogs, one salt flat, six major and at least a dozen minor lakes, and one huge “Grand Canyon” like crack in the ground!

The map shown here is a quick snippit for your own use and general overview.  A much more detailed map is available: read on: The more detailed map is a large 2 foot by 3 foot, four color poster map of Arduin available at Emperors Choice Games & Miniatures Corp. It comes complete with legend and scale, and displays the civilized areas of the country (roads, cities, towns, villages, etc.), as well as all the major geographical features (forests, mountains, swamps, rivers, inland seas, etc.). I t also shows the locations of Arduin’s most famous, and infamous, areas of mystery. It is printed on parchment, reminiscent of the original Arduin Grimoires.  The printed map is meticulously detailed from the original created by David A. Hargrave! A true masterpiece from the original to the commercial version!

You will never be lost in Arduin with this map as your guide. Get yours TODAY!

Economics

Arduin’s Coinage
Below is a representation of some typical costs based on Arduinian currency.

Coinage
Purchasing Power
Minum
A small loaf of cheap bread
Two for a cup of ferment mare’s milk
Three for a hot sausage on a bun
Ha’penny 
The commoner’s daily coin
A short ferry ride
A flagon of common beer
Penny
The price for enough food to feed one
The typical offering at a temple by a commoner
Silver Penny
A night’s food and lodging at a 3 star inn
The price of a common prostitute
The cost of a good sling
Four for finding one’s future at a palmist or seer
Five for the normal pay a Bard receives for a night’s performanceTen for the monthly wage of a sailor
Half Crown
Most long distance ferry rides
Crown
The price of a beginning courtesan
The average bribe or “squeeze”
Three for good heavy furs or winter clothing
Five for a fair quality spear
Sovereign
A month’s common wages on a farm
Price of a javelin or a quilted cloth doublet
Two for the typical offering at a temple by a noble
Three for a fair quality cutlass
Royal Sovereign
A soldier’s monthly pay or the price of full boiled leather armor
Four for the price of a very good 6 man dory
Bar/Monarch
An officer’s wages for a month
Common Trader’s coin of barter or business
Citadel
A general’s wages for a month

Miscellaneous Economic Notes
  • The average commoner and below consumes approximately 80% to 90% of their income in a year in living expenses and regular spending. They rarely save this unspent income but some (15%) have 2 to 4 years worth of spare income on hand. This is rarely residing in just coin, however; instead, it is invested in quality equipment, goods, weapons, or tools.
  • Merchants and craftsmen will spend 40% to 80% of their income in expenses per year, but equally tend to save the remainder (90%), investing it in valuables, or keeping it in manageable amounts of coin. They will (60%) have 1 to 4 years worth of savings on hand, or (40%) have 3 to 8 years of savings.
  • Nobility will frequently have large portions of their fortunes invested in valuables, coin, and other tangible items such as property and works of art. The amount varies greatly on their personal fortune and their noble line. Few have large amounts of coin on hand, though they always have some (anywhere from 1,500 to 15,000 Sovereigns depending on their social level) that is available.

    Taxes
    The majority of governmental revenue stems from a simple income tax, where every resident of the nation pays a percentage of income annually. Tax collectors are the least liked people in the world, and ‘squeeze’ is often offered and accepted to make the process work smoothly. However, nations (with few exceptions) do collect an annual tithe or income tax, usually given in either coin or goods.

    The amount may vary, but the tax is usually gathered directly by representatives of the ruling government or sometimes collected by nobility or other intermediaries. It is also worth noting that beyond the national or government taxes, individual landowners (or nobility, religious entities, et al) may levy a tithe or tax on those who dwell, use, or pass through their lands or spheres of control.

    A further portion of ‘taxes’ are fees levied by landowners for the lands use, such as the right to harvest timber for instance, or the right to hunt on their land. Also, mills, a much required portion of the food production chain, always levied fees, and are usually noble, crown, or religiously owned, though some may be individually owned depending on the nation.


    Ownership and Land
    Often a thorny question, but most nations consider the government to hold all lands within their dominion, aside from those lands bestowed to nobility (or similar social strata) or held neutral by treaty (such as the Dragon Lands in Ghorfar or the Orc Sword Forest Dominion in Arduin). Private individuals may be bestowed with land or own land, but such is considered a loan or mortgage, which the presiding ruler can chose to confiscate if a matter of gravest importance should arise. The laws of the lands shield individuals from this action to some extent or another (or, equally in some cases, do not). This commandeering of assets applies as equally to nobility and landowners, though typically these are protected more than individual entities.

    Bribery
    This habit, while not rampant everywhere, is a common fact of daily life. While most often encountered whenever governmental bureaucracy is involved, this is not an exclusive definition by any means. In Morvaen, for instance, a right amount of ‘jackgraff’ (another term for bribery; about as common as ‘squeeze’) will slide the enterprising trader ahead of his mates, just as another good amount will produce an amazing amount of paperwork for competitors who are trying to get pass the same guards! Bribery, while established, is never overt or obvious, but always on the sly or under the table. Blatant attempts to bribe someone will provoke anger at the minimum and more in variable and temperamental circumstances, such as getting arrested! It is also bad form to over bribe or under bribe – both can get you into trouble.

    Work and Rest

    Folk commonly work the first four days of the six day week, and half a day on fifth, taking the afternoon and all day on the sixth off. Holidays are taken off, of course, though some chose to work through these days anyway.

    Slavery

    A legal enterprise in almost every nation is slavery, as well as indentured service and serfdom. The greater portion of the labor force consists of free peasants, tenants, or the self-employed; a close majority is the slaves who make up an almost even amount. While there is regional variance on how slaves or near slaves are treated, it is a brutal, wretched, and hopeless life, usually very short in length. Slavers and the Slavers Guild are in every nation they are not outlawed. This does not prevent slavers from slaving in these countries anyway, though slaves are typically moved to nations where the sale and trade of such commodities is legal. Marmachand is the worst of all nations for slavery, though not as overtly brutal as many. They gladly and offhandedly practice a form a cruel bondage that extends generations, forcibly breeding slaves, working them to their death, or slaying them as thoughtlessly as killing a domesticated beast. While most slaves are captured and forced into the bondage, there are other types of slaves: prisoners of war, minor criminals, foreigners who break laws, or even parents too poor to support their children may sell their offspring into slavery. Commonly, a person may enter voluntary slavery to escape debt. If a person cannot pay debtors, typically they are imprisoned, and then sold to redeem the debts, the debtor excepting the selling price as the whole exchange for the amount owed. Once purchased, such a person remains a slave for their life, without chance of redemption.

    Slave owning societies make extensive use of slave labor, and a healthy slave can cost 30 silver to 3,000 gold depending on their race and talents. Conditions generally vary wildly, and even though in some lands slaves outnumber the amounts of free citizens, a slave’s life can be much, much worse. Many are treated as non-entities, or endure harsh treatment from callous masters, such as the Armandorians who often use their slaves in their religious festivals.

    Slave markets are regularly located within secured compounds far from other bazaars and markets were other commodities are sold. Slavers have stalls and holding pens in these places to hold recently arrived slaves before marketing them. Small villages and towns may not have regular slave compounds, and slavers set up shop wherever the local authorities allow. New or troublesome slaves are typically chained at the neck and shackled at the foot when traveling or placed in mobile cages if valued. Tattoos, neck torques, brands, rings, or notching of some appendage or feature such as the nose, ear, or fingers, is common to distinguish slaves from the free. Castration is widely practiced as an offense before slavery and sometimes afterwards as a precaution, depending on the slaving culture and mores of the society.

    When in action, slave markets are bustling places where slaves sit idly by in pens waiting to stand for inspection by some buyer. Educated, exotic, or professionally skilled slaves are segregated from the common bunch, and are usually sold in semi private to private auctions.


    Food and Agriculture
    While technology and magik abounds in places, the common people of Khaas still possess tools little more complicated than mills powered by water or the sweat of effort (usually slave driven). The plow is utilized to break the ground, and a team of horses drives them. Some regions are more advanced than others, and Bossalia, for instance, makes wide use of steam driven energy to power their mills, mining, and some military applications. In the Dreaming Isles, arcane magik has fashioned animate plows to care for the terraced farming on the steep mountain slopes, something they jealously guard. These exceptions are limited and generally where the Guilds have low or little power to protect the interests of those who fill their ranks. Aside from these niche places, all efforts are individually powered, from planting to crafting, each handmade, handcrafted, or worked.

    The staple of the continent is wheat, grown in greater or lesser amounts everywhere. With a short growing period and high food value, it is the best crop to grow with few resources. Maize is a close second, and thousands of vegetables are employed for food, as are fruits. Orchards and vineyards are found in any favorable clime.

    There are a variety of alcoholic beverages produced from fruits, grains, honey, and dozens of other substances. Many of the more famous or well-known ones are noted in the World Book of Khaas, Potables of Khaas section. However, there are many others used commonly and less so by the different societies of the world. While this varies on the culture, most drink alcoholic beverages with meals such as wine or beer. In the Misty Isles, a tea like concoction is preferred, though alcoholic beverages are equally consumed. The Ghandamahli enjoy a thick sugary drink instead, and typically abstain from alcohol with meals.

    Meat animals are the thick and burly buffalo, power horn, an okapi like animal with a large backwards sweeping horn, pigs, cows, chickens, goats, sheep, and other domesticated and wild creatures. Several forest and mountain animals are hunted for food, such as the Zindhettis, wild Orns, Boru, Vexureye, and wild Goxtchli. Some of the more unique of these animals are to be covered on the Bestiary pages.

    Fish and shellfish are another important food supply. There are numerous varieties, ranging from Silver-Humps to Mudders – so many as to be impossible to list here. Both salt water and fresh water varieties are eaten. Insects join this as an important food supply, and there are over nine types of insect eaten, as well as fourteen types of seaweed, a form of floating saltwater fungi called “Slickworm”, and numerous types of sea vegetables.


    Cloth
    Most cloth is made from plant or animal sources, though there are other resources such as spider silk and Injuvik hair (a porcine animal with hair instead of spines). The commonest variety of plant resources is the Andivancol: a long stemmed plant that grows to heights of seven to eight feet tall, similar to Earth’s stinging nettle, and grown everywhere on Khaas. It is an excellent source for thread, cordage, and cloth, and can be harvested for several years before replanting. Joining it is hemp, another common plant resource for cloth, rope, and other fibers. Aniuattus is an herbaceous plant with a fibrous stalk easily split into ‘hairs’ usable as thread often used in the equatorial regions. It is cool in hot climes, and doesn’t stick to the skin, making it a favorite of those who dwell in such regions and among adventurers. Furs are worn in places where the climate grows chill, and leather is common to the wear of most nations. Spider silk cloth is a favorite of the rich and the adventurer, who both prize it for its varied abilities and resistance to wear.


    Mining and Metalwork
    Many metals are mined such as copper, lead, zinc, tin, silver, gold, and iron. Valuable ores are mined where they are found in all the lands of Khaas, except by those too primitive to excavate such materials. Coal, guano, peat, groynee (a hard, brittle substance similar to bone in texture that burns very hotly for a long period; also called “beardbones”) are harvested also. Alloys such as bronze, copper, and electrum are common as well. Most other minerals and stones common to our own world are found in Khaas, though not all are known or used. Rock salt, flint, marble, jade, obsidian, gypsum, sulfur, chalk, quartz, tar, lime, coal, and peat are commonly used and traded commodities. All the ‘civilized’ areas on Khaora have access to steelwork which is common even in lands that eschew more innovative ideas, such as Ghandamahl, or have descended into barbarism frequently in their past, such as the Sandara.


    Other Goods and Resources
    Some 27 types of trees are commonly employed for timber or building. One example is the hardwood Siugoal, a tree that is prized on the eastern coast of Khaora for building, structures, and edifices. Silverspring trees are valued for bow wood, and the heavy, hard, durable wood of the Horndroop tree is used in shields, as well as bowls and dishes due to its ability to resist cracking or leaking.
    Mats, baskets, rugs, and some blankets are woven from grasses, reeds, and a form of silken thread flax. The red coated flax is used primarily in the common paper Khaasian scribes use to copy volumes. The few printing presses in the land use specially pressed paper for their purposes, though the few in existence are looked upon poorly by the Guild of Scribes and the various Colleges, who see their existence as a detriment to their livelihoods. Glassblower Guilds make hundreds of types of glass, and the fracture cut glassware of the Dreaming Isles is prized everywhere, along with the clear translucent wares of Viruelandia. Clay is universally used for pottery and storage vessels, and traders use great jars to transport oils, olives, wheat, wine, and other perishables at sea.


    Travel
    Khaora is a land constantly in flux, and many of her people are less tied to the land than most. While many of the continent’s inhabitants are indeed bound to the land, harvest, or family, great numbers travel the mountains, plains, and waterways of the continent. The bulk of these people are the traders found so often traveling the lands, seeking to ply their goods or services as they move from one place to another.

    A multitude of roads exist across Khaora: some old and ancient, harkening back to Kthoi times; others more recent, the engineering of more modern builders. The older roads, with few exceptions, are generally in poor state or cover only short distances, their reasons for construction and destinations long gone. The two types of regular roads seen across the continent are royal highways or secondary roads, both usually built and maintained by the local government or nobility. These roads are the primary means of travel across Khaora. The royal highways are the primary roads in most lands, typically entirely paved with cobblestones, slightly convex in shape, approximately twenty or so feet in width, and mostly have drainage ditches. Bridges on these roads are constructed with arched stone, if possible, wood trestle, or similar construction if not. These structures vary somewhat due to local flavor, but are the consistent standard. The roads are well maintained and kept in excellent repair by local peasantry, convict work crews, or whatever is acceptable to the local culture. Military patrols by regular troops are frequent, and local militia units occasionally spot check sections of the roads as well. All foliage is kept cleared back from the road by at least 10 to 20 feet, and the terrain is graded where possible. The various Guilds, ranging from the Porters to the Traders Guild, have a vested interest in these roads especially, and are not above exerting a little pressure on nobility and governments alike to ensure their upkeep. Large cities tend to have the same type of internal road surfaces, in whole or part in their treks. These tend to be thick with traffic even at goods times.

    Where these royal highways do not ply the land are secondary roads, which bridge the gaps between towns, cities, and villages outside the needs or desires of the local government. These roads are hard packed dirt or gravel topped, typically 15 to 20 feet in width, and may or may not have adequate drainage. Usually stretching into rural regions and away from the primary urban centers, these roads are maintained almost exclusively by the local nobility or similar social class. Any bridging necessary varies widely in construction, though rarely of stone; wood trestle bridges are the norm for such roads. Local troops and militia do patrol these roads but not with the frequency of the royal highways. Foliage is cleared away from the roads approximately three to five feet and only cut back once per year. These roads, unlike the royal highways, always confine their stretches to the terrain, going around hills or low-lying areas.

    Also worth mentioning are the tracks and paths crisscrossing all the nations; they are used by locals, hunters, foresters, brigands, and the occasional military patrols. These are not maintained by anyone, and grow or die based on the needs of the region.

    Most of the travel on Khaora is by foot. There are a variety of steeds available to the traveler with coin, and Khaora hosts a plethora of equines and like beasts, ranging the nearly never seen Orn to the more common donkey. Traders across the land commonly employ ponies, donkeys, and the like to move their goods; wagons are drawn by sturdy oxen, horses, or other domesticated beasts. Travel by barge or boat on the inland waterways is another easy and often traveled route – usually by drifting with the waterway’s current. Air travel is much less common, though griffon, Vord, pegasai, or other aerial steeds are available. This mode of travel, as well as movement by magik, is quite hazardous, and the perils greatly limit the use of such means or devices.


    Trade
    Business in Khaora is founded on capitalism. Commodities are produced and sold directly to consumers or to merchants who would factor these goods by shipping them to cities or to foreign shores. Trade requires great skill in bargaining, and has led rise to a class of people in Khaora who specialize in nothing more than journeying to far shores or known paths to factor goods to those without.

    More goods are transported over land than by sea. Sets of mule driven carts or wagons are a common sight on the roads, and Traders ply the known and secret ways in contest to see who can reach the buyer first. Carriages are common on the roads, not to carry cargo, but are extensively employed for passenger transport. Most nations have laws allowing carriages right of way on roads, though often many will not yield the road to a racing carriage out of spite or irritation during the muddy seasons.

    Sea travel is primarily of the coastal variety, though some, like the Cirthian League and the Dreaming and Misty Isles, have sent ships far out on the dangerous seas. The Rainbow Isles, Vargalla, and a few other countries are equally as daring, sending transported goods to distant ports.


    Trading Companies
    Powerful affiliations of Traders banded together for mutual defense and greater market penetration. The company will buy raw goods, manufacture them, and send them to the best markets for the most advantageous price. Companies tend towards either the private or open, and those open allow any person or organization to invest funds in their commercial enterprise without actually owning it. If a Trader factors wares bought in Arduin and sold in Tharkhala, the investor makes money based on the amount invested on the return of the Trader’s caravan. If the venture loses money or does not return, the investor suffers the loss of money. Many trading companies are ruthless, enforcing what is best for them on their suppliers or buyers to the most extent possible. All trading companies have a few things in common such as they have hundreds of people working for them, including guards and spies. They also tend to have offices in many countries and some influence on local and regional politics, though more than one nation’s rulers view this as an unwelcome influence. Lastly, they trade in all goods, but specialize in certain, always needed, items such as food (fish, certain herbs, etc), ships, milled goods, and so forth.


    Tariff and Tolls
    Nations impose a tariff on goods imported for sale. Once across the border to a country, inspectors scrutinize goods and impress anything from a half percent to over fifteen percent surtax on goods. The process is always lengthy and costly, though with the proper ‘squeeze’, it amazingly speeds up tremendously. Those nations who do not have an organized customs scheme typically levy gate tolls, market fees, or some other charge when a Trader sets up shop. These can include ‘squeeze’ to local officials, the Guilds, gangs, and many other organizations or officials.


    Free Enterprise
    Generally, people can engage in whatever endeavor they desire, as long as it does not infringe on the Guilds’ areas of influence. Entrepreneurialship is viewed favorably in most lands as long as obeisance is given to the laws of the land and proper fees paid to the Guilds that govern the industry. Small-scale ventures are frequently overlooked, such as a good bow maker but better adventurer who occasionally sells his bows in town, but should the same set up shop to sell bows, then a visit from the Bowyers Guild is in order.


    Lending and Banking
    Lending money at fixed rates of interest is possible, though only rarely in rural regions as it is the province of more urban areas. The Multiversal Trading Post (MTP) is the largest progenitor of such, and provides such services along with a modicum of banking and securities. What banking is available is solely at a low early stage, and there is no concept of modern banking or security. Aside from the MTP, moneylenders also provide this surface for those who are in need of quick funds or a short-term loan, usually for outrageous rates and the promise of legal or physical difficulty should the person default or run late in repayment.


    Coinage and Conversion
    Khaora has a bewildering number of monetary systems. While the barter system is used and works for some areas, this method of transaction does not work for trade in the larger expanse of Khaora. Hard currency provides a stable method of exchange between cultures of differing views or temperaments, and is the everyday medium of exchange for trade. The most prominent of the monetary systems are presented at the back of the World Book of Khaas in the appendixes. A majority of these pecuniary systems are based on the gold standard. Some use silver, and others use less common metals or gems, such as platinum, Silveel, or copper. Coins come in a baffling collection of shapes, sizes, complexities, and materials. The Arduinian gold sovereign is the standard, and is a small gold heptagonal coin weighing but a few ounces. Due to the commercial power Arduin exerts on trade, it has assumed prominence as the medium to base other coinage against. More often than not, regardless of the currency involved, it is the value of the metal, gem, or material the coin is minted from which determines its value.

    Nearly every moneychanger charges a fee to exchange foreign currency into something more suitable to the local populace, and while the amount can vary greatly depending on an area, one percent is the minimum. Countries that restrict the usage of foreign currency tend to charge more generous amounts, usually amounts of 7% to 15% of the value of the base coinage. Local politics, racial bias, and a multitude of factors influence these rates; a Deodanth will quickly find his coin is much less valuable than the more accepted Hobbitt to his left.

Arduin Herbology : Depoukarn Vine (Dep-OWE-carn)

 
DEPOUKARN VINE
Description: A wiry vine parasitically lives off other beings, winding and turning on itself above the skin but spreading inward to the bone with its roots.
APT: 18
Climate: see below. Locality: see below.
Time: see use
Search TD: 150
Use TD: None.
Normal: These vines alter their hosts in various ways for survivability. The vine survives as long as the host survives. They can bond instantly with a living being but it takes 1 minute and 1 HP damage to firmly root into a host. Afterward they slowly adapt their host, making subtle changes daily until a certain symmetry is reached. Each day they make a change to their host, they cause 2-ESS impairment. Each of the following will happen daily until their max benefit is reached. Once all maxims are reached it consumes 1-ESS impairment daily to sustain itself.
  • Adds a +1 bonus to DEF, to a max +20 bonus.
  • Adds a +1 bonus to the Maneuver skills, including Weapon, to a max +5 bonus.
  • Adds a +1 bonus to CON.
Rare: Requires Embolden Herb to activate.
  • When done it provides a +1 bonus to Fear, Shock, Disease and P/V saves, to a max +20 bonus.
  • Adds a +1 bonus to DR.
Hidden: Requires Find True Essence to activate. When done it enhances its host's most frequently used skills, providing a powerful edge to keep it alive. Essentially, it provides a floating +10 advancement bonus that is applied once to whatever single skill is used the most (GM adjudicated) that session.

Arduin Herbology : Brigwellt (BRIG-welk)


BRIGWELLT (also called Wither Weed)
Description: a dull gray weed that grows in clumps and thickets, choking out everything around it. Brigwellt is hated by most beings and destroyed where it grows as it absorbs and drys out moisture from the soil and air where ever it grows, killing other vegetation, insects and in some cases animals.
APT: 3
Climate: all but arctic. Locality: All but Arctic or tundra.
Time: 1 CF Action
Search TD: 150
Use TD: 100
Normal: Typically used as a drying agent. It can absorb moisture for up to 3 days after being cut, drying out an3 ft square area completely per bundle. Can be used to jerk or dry out meat and other products.
Rare: Requires Emboldened Herb to use. If activated with 1 APT it will begin drying out an area for the next 40 CF Counts afterward, violently drawing in all moisture within a 15 ft radius. It will wither and kill 1 BODY (counted as damage) of anything vulnerable to this attack every CF Count. Items vulnerable to this attack, such as clothes and even leather, lose DUR equivalent. If it draws out double the BODY or DUR of anything in the area, it will turn to dust. It can be made into an active dust but must be hermetically sealed until used.
Hidden: Requires Find True Essence to use. Withers 2d6+10 APT away from any “wet” elemental, demiurge or demon type per CF Count.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Arduin Herbology : Balchdur (balk-door)


BALCHDUR (also called the Green Bomb)
Description: A small evergreen tree with green fruit, similar to a lemon but with a brilliant, iridescent hue.
APT: 7
Climate: warm, sunny. Locality: hillsides/sandy soil
Time: 1 CF Action
Search TD: 100
Use TD: 100
*** Rare and Hidden uses require Embolden Herb to activate. ***
Normal: Balchdur propagates by means of the seeds in its fruit. Said fruit responds explosively to impact and shoot out from the flesh of the fruit in all directions. Stinging more than anything, a fruit causes 1 HP damage to anything within 10 ft.
Rare: Naturally occurring 1% of the time. These fruits are truly bombs, sending their seeds forth with explosive force, inflicting 3d6 HP damage to everything within 20 ft.
Hidden: The explosive force can be directed outward in a single direction, striking in a cone 20 ft long and 10 ft wide at its terminus.

Arduin Herbology : Areanlys (Ah-RHEE-an-lee)


AREANLYS
Description: A purple to black fungus, usually hand-sized and flat, growing off hard wood trees.
APT: 10*
Climate: All but arctic and wintry climes. Locality: all but desert or arctic zones.
Time: see use
Search TD: 200
Use TD: 50
*** All uses require Find True Essence to activate. ***
Normal: Can be used as a power component in spells, providing a +2 CRIT and +2 Fumble bonuses or less to spells.
Rare: Can absorb any spell, prayer or ritual up to OP 4 that includes you in its effect, crumbling into dust after the absorption. If the spell is an area effect one, it only negates the spell for you. Spells not immediately centered on you are unaffected by this areanlys.
Hidden: None.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Arduin map

Here are a couple of links for the Arduin map we thought you might find a bit interesting...

In addition, you can click on the image to make it larger so you can see where Talismonde is even if you dont have the map!







Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lancers of the Galloping Light

This semi legendary ballad is about a small troop of knights, dedicated to the Silver Lady, who supposedly rode steeds wrought from starlight. The goddess herself gave the steeds to them, after their impassioned plea before her altar in Chrysolia. The legendary ballad extols their merits and deeds, and plays heavily on the great plea they made before Lady of the Silver Moon, binding them and their future generations to her service, in life, death, and in-between. That she listened is obvious, as the lancers later mounted up on great Destriers described as ‘formed from light between the stars, filled with unearthly power and radiance; hooves shining and burning, eyes alit and rolling as they pranced and snorted readiness for battle’. Their final ride against the hellish army belched from the sulfurous nexus that split the slopes of the Beryllium Manticore is the stuff of heroes. It has raised the spirits and set fire to the hearts of heroes in every generation since the first telling of the tale.

Night Lover

This legend is rather an odd one that does not concern death and destruction, though to many it is horrific. Also known as the ‘Black Kiss’, simply put, men (only) awaken to find an indelible mark just over their heart in the shape of a woman’s lips. Those thus kissed then become ‘great lovers’, and have hordes of women seemingly irresistibly drawn to them. They become obsessed (always) with women, and with ‘loving’ them. This orgy lasts a full 13 years, and then the man inexplicably dies of a burst heart. Always on the anniversary of the night he was kissed too. Never more than one male a year has ever been thus afflicted as far as can be ascertained, but one per year for more than 7,000 years is a lot of men! Usually 13 males (over the 13 year period) are ‘kissed’ in any given nation or area, then it shifts to another location, and begins again. Who or what does this is totally unknown, and the ‘why’ of it all remains mystery to even the strongest of arcane probes and investigations. Just pray you never awake to find that you’ve been ‘night kissed’, and have but 13 years to live!

Odd Walker

This is a sort of generic legend in that it is known, or has analogues, in most every nation upon the world. It predates all written histories, and may be Kthoi originated. The legend concerns a Human or Humanoid, which is the ‘epitome of utter evil’, and appears from time to time to ‘herald dark times, wars, and other such apocalyptic evils’. As his race can apparently be changed (a Hobbitt one time, a Human another, etc.) to suit the place he is going to, there is no real knowledge of what he truly looks like (or even what he/it is). What is known, however, is this: regardless of its shape or guise, his eyes will ‘glow a baleful emerald green like fire’ in shadow or darkness; he always walks, never rides, everywhere he goes (he has been known to travel as much as 3,000 miles in a single night in this manner; best guess is that he can ‘hell walk’ to cover such distances); finally, no non-magikal hurt or attack can affect him, and even magikal ones seem to have only 5% – 10% of their normal effect against him. He has been killed many, many times only to reappear in later times and in different places. Many think he is some Greater Demon (mainly because of his ‘powers’ – too numerous to list here), while others feel that it is a ‘manifestation of the essence of the evil in the world’. Whatever the answer, his appearance is always the harbinger of awful times and disasters.

Ordering of the Moons

This very common myth refers to the antediluvian time when the Triune Moon Gods tread the dust of the stars, and danced in the first beams of light shown by Syraath on the face of Khaas. Each had given to form the world: Shagrath the weave, Skirin his breath, and the Silver Lady life to everything that grows and lives in the lands, seas, or air. In time, however, the contention between Shagrath (who believed all was his/her/its to do with as it saw fit) and the Silver Lady (who sought only to nurture, grow, and develop) grew to such proportions to threaten the very creation they quarreled over! Skirin, often siding with the Silver Lady, foresaw the chance of destruction of Khaas in their clashes, and acted, as is his wont, in a way unexpected, but effective. He took upon his chosen form, rising up into the ocean of space, blotting the starry sky with great wings. Churning the dust of the stars and stuff of light, he formed a bluish moon, polishing it with the feathers of his wings until it gleamed and glittered like a great jewel. 

Not to be outdone, the other two rose up also, forming their own abodes. 

The Silver Lady formed a beautiful full white moon, draping it with the gauziest veil from her raiment and the mist from her eyes to make it glow soft and clearly. She stayed the closest to Khaas to give comfort ,and to watch over the burgeoning life.

Shagrath wove his own abode also, gross to the Silver Lady’s beauty, dull to Skirin’s brilliance. Dark and bloody, his moon shone in the sky like the bloated, rolling, red eye of some feral creature. Unlike the other moons, however, it was farther away, and did not dominate the skyline as they did. Angered at this, Shagrath plots to change this fact, but is thwarted by either the Silver Lady or Skirin every time. This is why the red moon moves so quickly across the sky, as Shagrath hopes to outrun Skirin, who follows behind, watching vigilantly, while the Silver Lady, gracefully dances behind them both.

Random

This legend is semi fact as this is one of Khaas’ infamous characters. Practically everyone has heard about him, but only a few have actually met him. His origins, age, and profession are unknown. Though much speculated on, he has definitely been encountered as a sell sword, Bard, Thief, Mage, and just about every other profession one can devise. He was quite good at whatever he was doing at the time also. Though he only looks to be about 30 years old and ‘fully Human’, he has been known and spoken of for at least 100 years. He always manages to show up just prior to some ‘great happening’ or world event, and always leaves shortly after it has been ‘concluded’. As he does his own thing through these happenings, it is difficult to ascertain whether he is on the side of good or evil, as it were. He just ‘is’ for practical purposes. Note as well that although he does repeat his chosen profession from time to time, he never appears twice in a row doing the same sort of job. You can recognize him by the unusual gold pupiled eyes and a ‘lightning shaped’ scar running down his right forearm. Otherwise, his choice of dress, armor, weaponry, etc. might as well be ‘random’. As a final note, he is never known to drink anything except clear, pure water.

Secret Masters

This is a time hoary legend that extends back to the Kthoi. Generally disregarded, it is believed by some who swear such beings once existed (and maybe still do, somewhere, out there in the world). Essentially, the legend tells a tale of the few that were created by the Kthoi in order to control their creations. According to this myth, from each of the races the Kthoi selected a small number that would rule and dominate! Given the power to influence and manipulate others, these few masters would rule from the shadows, dominating and controlling the minds of the other slave races! This way the Kthoi could ensure their slaves would follow their orders without question or revolts. In the same breath, this legend also tells how these secret masters were the true rebels that started the tide of revolt against their masters!

Star Hawks

The brilliant blue stars that make up the constellation of the Night Hawk represent these mythic beings. While recent tales say Skirin set these stars as guardians of Khaas after the Interstellar Wars, they are far older than this time. Earlier myths say they roamed the solar oceans when Khaas had brothers in the ocean of night (intact system planets, which would place the myth somewhere around the dominion of the Kthoi or closely thereafter), wrestling with Star Dragons, Star Spyders, and Moon Coils. They have played numerous parts in the long history of Khaas, such as supposed destroyers of life in the Failed Prophecies, as war birds and heralds for the Szinkiuin, and many others. Most often, they are described as blazing hawks of harsh starlight, with brilliant glitters for eyes, and burning, void white feathers.

Heaven’s Siege

This was an ambiguous time in the hoary past when mortals warred with the gods and challenged their will and right of dominance over the world. The tales of this time is told and retold through the eons, kindling fire in the bellies of would-be heroes, eyes agleam with the thought of challenging the gods in all their glory…

God Wars

In all the misty legends of elder times lie the stain of some truly ambitious undertaking – where it is said that gods challenged gods as the old ones transitioned to a new rule under more energetic (or vicious) gods. Known as the God Wars, no one can place this time in Khaas’ history. Yet, these battles were deadly dramas played out in the lives of mortals and in the myriad heavens. Their passing left nothing untouched as they stomped across the world.

Fallen Bouloulonssa

A legend from the Great Sand Sea, this is the mythic city swallowed by the sands of that windblown, dry expanse. A fountain of magik, power, and water flowed into this city, which was a giant oasis in an otherwise dry expanse. Legends say one day the land ‘yawned and moaned like some great beast, opening wide a maw to feast on the marvels, delights, and freshness of the Bouloulonssa’. Sages theorize some cataclysm or nexus related catastrophe occurred to destroy the city, though little evidence remains to determine one way or the other. A few travelers of the dangerous desert, however, speak in hushed tones about a city they sometimes glimpse ‘alight like a glittering jewel, with a great throng of people, whose laughter and sounds of life mingled with the pure, clear sound of water from the fountains’.

Ess-Khar-Ghoe

Supposedly, it is a now forgotten tunnel complex that literally spans the globe (running even beneath the oceans). These tunnels are, legends say, still traversed by ‘shining metal cart trains’ that stop and go as if ‘of a mind all their own’. Only a few, very few, have seen these strange creations firsthand, and of those, fewer still have spoken of the sight.

City at the Edge of Forever

‘Hanging on the abyss of nothingness, and perched at the foot of the still drops of eternity’, is all that is known about this city other than, ‘it was fairer than all others, aglitter with power, tranquility and joy’. Reputedly somewhere on the fifth continent, this semi mythical city has called out to more than one enraptured adventurer. Seek it if you dare, for legends also tell that ‘guardians fair, foul, and betwixt guard her walls, and the herald waits to sound his horn against invader or transgressor’.

Arduin Eternal INDEX and Culture book (FREE)


Arduin Eternal reminder:
This is just a reminder to those that have purchased Arduin Eternal from another source that does not handle the INDEX and Cultures of Arduin Eternal that it can be gotten from Emperors Choice for free with proof of purchase!  Just contact Emperors Choice and we can ship you a copy right away!

Also remember - when ordering the Arduin Eternal rulebook direct from Emperors Choice, you will get this book for free until we give the next update tot he published copy (coming this year (2011).