Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Hey Hey We're the Mongols!

This is edited text from my Mongol Contest ( entry 1 hr before deadline I was in bed with fever sick as a dog. I contacted contest host via comments etc and didn't get a response at time and contest was called off that hour before deadline. I'm sorry and feel bad about not getting in but enjoyed it and finally understood Mongol-Turk-Estonian links of language and shamanism despite the huge gulf in time separating them (my Dad Estonian and Grandpa spent 18 years in a gulag - moms mom was Welsh and welsh descended South Australian tradesmen and mining colonists). I posted my un-proofed layout tests on my Flickr earlier but here are the proofed text in my mongrel UK-USA English they call Australian + a bit of my dyslexia.

The layout were an experiment on minimalism vs over design but these silhouettes were pretty sweet. or or

I basically
stopped when contest over and couldn't get my editor.
Anyhow I'll knock up a table and silhouettes on anything historical by request and have huge library of copyright free clip images.  Like researching history and willing to try other stuff on request. Layout experiments were useful but not finished.

Mongol philosophy impressed me. SBS tv over xmas showed heap of nomad herder films from kazarstan to the Bering sea peninsula.

Could use for barbarian nomads elsewhere.

Stupas for Mongol Heroes

"All people are weak and therefore shortcomings should be tolerated"

Built by monks, usually to entomb an abbot or holy man or relics. They are scattered across the steppes and some are extremely ancient. Older ones roughly beehive or bell shaped mounds. Some wear down into unrecognizable shapes and may have trees growing in them. Some have open shrines inside others are sealed. with sealed door. More recent ones are more geometric and decorated signify the elements. Inside will be paintings, mummified abbot, gold statues, holy trinkets, ritual paraphernalia and scriptures. Possibly even magic. Size and
numbers may vary from a single small one only a meter high to hundreds of small ones. Some are huge complexes with a giant stupa surrounded by many small ones.

It is bad form to rob but relics might be moved for protection and monks will be grateful if given to them. Even traditional shaman dont normally approve of grave robbing even though they dont always get along with monks. You could apply these to a cave or sanctuary or a shrine carved into a cliff for variety. Some are repaired by wandering monks or locals. Others have been abandoned for a thousand years. Better maintained ones are cared for and are also meeting places and crossroads.

Many spirits dwelling near stupas assume living form and some take time to reform a new body if killed. They appear superficially human but with clues in ornaments, odd habits and other features. Basically like a typical adventurer with class and levels. They may have other forms.

Shaman traditionalist and monks compete. They ebb and flow in social power but this has been happening for a long time and they often accommodate each other or elements of both exist together.

d8 condition
1 Almost rubble - 20% sealed
2 Partially collapsed - 30% sealed
3 overgrown crude mound - 40% sealed
4 overgrown grassy mound - 50% sealed
5 crumbled ornaments - 60% sealed
6 highly ornamented, bare stone - 70% sealed
7 highly ornamented, paint intact - 80% sealed
8 highly ornamented, paint intact, flags and
   banners intact - 90% sealed

d6 encounter type
1 Shaman
2 Maiden
3 Man
4 Haunted
5 Beast
6 Other

d10 Shaman

1 Wise shaman dispenses healing
2 Wise shaman dispenses divination
3 Drunken shaman wallowing in sadness over clans death
4 Is actually a spirit testing heroes virtue, may bestow gift to worthy
5 Composing a work of history or poetry or philosophy in Orkhon script
6 Trying to contact spirits, angered by disturbance but can be reasoned with
7 Is actually evil spirit will befriend but will attack by night
8 Wise woman collecting pebbles for ceremony might share meager meal
9 In animal form will tail party for a while
10 Is collecting herbs - might provide useful information if treated well

d10 Maiden - often armed with bow
1 Runaway girl avoiding family obligations - she begs for mercy
2 Lost maiden separated during attack has been living here seeks help
3  Escaped slave girl well mannered and skillful, her owners want her
4 Has come here to prey for good luck, her kin will be pleased if she is treated well
5 Disguised as a boy warrior offers to join party, oddly will not wrestle shirtless
6  Actually an appealing spirit, will turn to skeleton after consummates marriage
7  Wounded or poisoned and abandoned by kin - she will be loyal to any who help her
8 Is actually a wolf spirit seeking worthy mate, will vanish after complete
9 Is a Nun here on a pilgrimage compelled by dream, grumpy but helpful
10 Is actually a curious animal spirit - is clueless of custom and polite conduct

d10 Man

1 Suicidal with despair - attacks to the death
2 Friendly at first but berserk when discovers name of heroes clan
3 Cowardly desperate bandit will fire poison arrows from hiding
4 Lost shepherd boy with naughty yak or sheep, offers milk for help
5 Shepherd with animals stopping to eat, keen to gossip with heroes
6 Shepherd boy with sheep, wants to join party and run away from duty
7 Wolf spirit in human form challenges to wrestling match
8 Bandit will offer hospitality, at night his comrades return and attack
9 Monk on pilgrimage - will offer advice or medical treatment
10 Monk is actually a spirit guarding the holy place, friendly to respectful

d10 Haunted
More active at night - possibly hiding or benign looking by day
1 Angry spirit will posses intruder and perform crazed shameful acts till exorcised
2 Spirit will appear and ask heroes for completion of task it left unfinished in life
3 Hideous old crone asks for meat and strong drink - she is a hag and will be angered if denied
4 Angry air elemental protects this stupa from harm, likes to make huge dust clouds
5 Evil wolf spirit turns from angry old man to a diseased Dire wolf
6 A tempting pony is actually a demon in disguise who enjoys heroic flesh
7 An angry spirit calls a storm and calls lightning on the party till they flee the stupa
8 Spirit appears as evil monk sorcerer and tries to kill heroes, may leave magic treasure
9 What seems like a monk is surprised performing unspeakable act - is a vampire
10 Shadows from fallen heroes arise at night to feed on living

d10 Beast

1 Lost herd animal is friendly and follows party (1 in 6 has a pack of goods)
2 Injured horse if treated will be extraordinary loyal and protective of new master
3 A pack of hungry wolves lair here and have dug into stupa, sealing it earns merit
4 An attractive wild mare drives heroes stallions lust crazy and out of control
5 Snakes crawl everywhere and a giant intelligent spell casting snake dwells inside
6 A spirit deer tries to lure heroes away, if ignored it will become human and talk
7 A giant elemental frog lurks here:  knows some wood, metal, fire, water or sand spells
8 Magnificent thirsty black horse from the herd of the underworld Khan - he will want it back
9 Vultures roosting at stupa follow heroes for 1d4 days, attract more trouble
10 Mischievous hare spirits leave out tasty food and drink, then steal shiny things when heroes rest

d10 Other

1 Local traders have gathered to deal exotic wares, visitors welcome
2 Monks and/or locals repairing stupa - will point out a ruined haunted one elsewhere
3 Locals performing ceremony - one will try to drive heroes off with harsh words
4 Wounded person on tired horse needs urgent treatment
5 Bandits dwell here and attack party on sight
6 Lost foreigner totally out of place here is starving
7 A war band meet here to sacrifice a horse for victory in battle - may invite heroes to join them
8 Red hawk flies overhead - a great omen +1 hit damage next battle from smiling war spirit
9 Locals enjoying a humble peasant feast to celebrate a marriage, heroes are welcome
10 Remains of slaughtered locals - surviving kin will be grateful if reported or avenged

I have kept this from a horse warrior oriented view and assumed there is room in your fantasy steppes to include some monastic culture.  Your game could use your favorite versions of monks or even wizards.

Every Day Life
"A man may be Buddhist, Christian or Muslim, but only Tengri knows the righteous"

roll 1d4 for which sub table to apply

(1)1d12 Animals
1 agressive dog attack
2 vermin in your pack - rats!
3 vermin on you - lice!
4 milking blocks your passage
5 quality animal born
6 a herd beast dislikes you
7 last tasty rat had the plague
8 one of your beast sick
9 bad animal omen -2 next roll
10 good animal omen +2 next roll
11 animal escapes - track to find
12 animal causes legal conflict

(2)1d12 Daily Activity
1 game of polo with live lamb or goat
2 dog fight
3 horse race
4 archery contest
5 wrestling contest
6 celebrate birth, wedding or festival
7 public mourning over sad news
8 invited to drink fermented mares’ milk
9 prisoner in wooden box begs for food
10 fire - everybody helps
11 execution
12 animal fatality = impromptu feast!

(3)1d12 Fancy Goods
1 fabulous horse for sale
2 fabulous dog for sale
3 exotic slave for sale
4 quality bow or arrows for sale
5 lovely camel or yak for sale
6 quality sabre
7 quality shield
8 quality armour
9 quality strong drink
10 finest furs for a lady
11 delicious ground rat on a stick
12 quality lance

(4)1d12 Petty Troubles

1 divorced or widow woman interested
2 you offend custom by accident
3 shaman or monk give unwanted advice
4 poor kin come to you for support
5 women fight over you
6 feud over a contest results
7 crying baby needs butter!
8 tribal leaders want you to speak
9 jealous man tries to kill you
10 bad person slanders your honour
11 hunt called for local foe
12 family want you to meet their child

These are male oriented but mongol women would be able to ride and shoot well. Wrestling contests must be shirtless since games uncovered a female in disguise who beat everyone. So a woman in disguise could be a good background or a independent widow with wealth from hubbies war booty.


  1. This is fantastic. It has been suggested that I re-run the Mongol contest next month, since there won't be any major holidays in the way. If you are interested this would be a good entry.

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