Monday, 15 February 2021

The Fallen Empire

Having been a bit inspired by the Dawn of Empires Gazeteer (reviewed last blog) Ive been thinking about the alternate AC system in that book id never heard of for dnd and the general idea of expanding my setting with some more detail. One thing I think BECMI dnd did was have high levels in the world, especially of wizards. As I'm playtesting my rules more for higher-level play this is interesting.

Basically, the current third Empire has been locked in a civil war since the Mad Emperor drove all the vassal states into rebellion. After thirty years the civil war has burned out most of their might. The great central wilderness has been expanding. With humanoids and demihumans reasserting their prehuman territories when in the past the Empire persecuted them. 

In past campaigns, the Empire was a source of interference from the south and had been sending convicts and colonists to the southern part of Exile Island. The Governer there since the empire fall has been holding on to their original mission from the prior empire. Shadelport's pirate fleet have thrived and have been plundering and trading all around the greater middle sea.

Auldwood was detailed a bit here 
Sour Hill the north of Auldwood was first detailed here 
About 20 3fold adventures are written in the north here.

This current map and names supersede older ideas which never contacted players. 

While these territories imply control over a large area many of the borders are barley inhabited wilderness and wasteland. Especially if further from the coastline.

d12 tables for each are for rural, wilderness and frontier travel not urban or farmlands. They are to give you a taste of what kinds of things might be a problem. Obviously urban areas are different and many frontier monsters like wyverns, peryton, luecerotta hunt the borderlands and the wasted regions.

I will fill out detail as needed but this is fine for now. My players currently running round a few thousand years to early in my setting at moment before the 1st empire. This is a framework I can work off later. I like idea of adventurers having to travel around coast or through island. Also from this project discovered my world map scale is wrong and needs halving.

Quick notes on other lands across the sea.
The north is a frozen waste little changed for millennium but vikings and nomads are known to have colonies. Civilised folk have no idea beyond mountains is a prehistoric land unchanged for aeons. The East has various warring kingdoms, the wizard Island of Waerlund. The south is sprawling jungles and deserts with ancient theocracies, empires and city states famous for incredible stone monuments. West has rich jungle civilisations, great plains and river valleys many under the thrall of the Black Lotus emperor in his underground city. Only once did my players consider visiting as they thought they could take over the drug trade but settled for working with the Baron of Shadelport as a middleman for the drug kingpins.

Formerly this province was the personal property of the emperor. Now it is the only part of the former Empire resembling the ancient ways. A sunny prosperous land of wine and love groves and barley fields. With decades of a failed war, the land is a shadow of itself. With shortages of money and labour, irrigation has fallen into ruin and the interior has become lawless and full of rebels. The Emperor Tarimaxus is not well-loved and his forces waste time collecting taxes and the borders with rival powers have remained static for years. Elves, goblinoids and orcs are slowly overrunning the interior wilderness. The great Solar church was based here and the Emperor is technically the leader of the church but heresy in opposition to him has arisen to help the poor and shun the wealth of the church. The capital once had half a million people and world-famous monuments but the population has decreased as trade died and lives were squandered in war. Also, many people have been fleeing this land to other states or even the wilderness.

d12 Lamnutainia Borderlands
1 Soldiers on patrol
2 Merchant caravan with guards
3 Knights on way to battle
4 Rebels stealing from crown
5 Bailiffs and tax collector or magistrate
6 Goblin wolf or bat riders
7 Hobgoblin soldiers raiding
8 Bugbear hunting humans
9 Sun priest and cleric guards
10 Pilgrims on way to holy place
11 Holy hunter of evil evil d4 1=hermit 2=paladin 3=healer 4=saint
12 Monks or nuns with cleric escort

This wild land has suffered in the war early on and the northern part of the land around the old city of Sour Hill collapsed. The west is having a great elven forest spreading unnaturally fast. Most of the kingdom is controlled from the south where many feudal knight territories thrive in great forests, mines in the hills and several large trading towns. As the knights grew in power and the war to the south with the empire slowed, the royal court of Seaton has grown. Many of the nobles have homes in Seaton to be near King Leopold to gain his favours and attention. The court increasingly is troubled by decadence and intrigues. Many isolated forest manours have become strange in isolation. Criminals and bandits have been streaming into the north from Valadran and the knights have little interest. Of all the lands since the empire fall, druidry and elf cults have thrived, especially in the wild north.

d12 Auldwood WIlderness
1 Bandit archers want money or your life
2 Kobold or goblin raiders
3 Druid priest with barbarian guards
4 Stag or boar abhuman raiders
5 Elf scouts planting trees and harassing travellers
6 Knight on the road with followers seeking a fight
7 Tree folk destroying human structure or road
8 Travelling merchants with wary guards
9 Travelling farmers on the way to market town
10 Loner d4 1=Prospector 2=trapper 3=hermit 4=hunter
11 Wolves 1in6 at night led by werewolf
12 Barbarian raiders

Formerly the centre of the empires military orders who first revolted from the emperor. Knight and clerical orders found the empires conduct unbecoming to their honour. Castles and monasteries cover the land and the population are devout and loyal to the estates. The Grand Master of the orders elected for life and the current Grand Master Malleus Thorn has a secure grip on Dormand. They keep the border with Lamnutainia secure, keep humanoids in the north under control with borderland keeps and send ship loads of crusaders to holy wars by ship on other continents. Probably the most orderly and stable of the former empire states. Most land is controlled by orders established to wage war to the south. The people increasingly question why waste food and lives on this when they could dethrone and replace the emperor instead and save the empire.

d12 Dormund Borderlands
1 Marching soldiers of the military order
2 Templar clerics guarding trade goods
3 Templar clerics guarding pilgrims
4 Orc boar or dire wolf rider raiders
5 Orc barbarian raiders
6 Tribal raiders
7 Strange robed cultists
8 Angry bear
9 Pack of wolves
10 Knight and entourage
11 Cultists in disguise as clerics
12 Doppelgangers disguised as clerics

A dry coastal rock coast with castles and knights serving King Alanbrethol and Queen Auzalla. A rich decadent court life has emerged and the knights are fairly free to do as they please while those on the borders of the great waste are poorer and have to fight more against humanoids and barbarians. Kastria is considered corrupt and at times highly inefficient prone to waste resources and depend more on prayer than good management. Bandits and monsters are quite common on the wilderness areas which keep the people reliant on the knights.

d12 Kastrian Borderlands
1 Goblin warrior raiders
2 Orc barbarian raiders
3 Kobold scouts skirmishing
4 Knight and entourage
5 Merchant caravan
6 Hyena or lion beastfolk raiders 
7 Farmers on way to market
8 Bandits on horseback
9 Knight looking for fight
10 Robber knights demand loot
11 Orc slavers with kidnapped peasants
12 Barbarian raiders

A rich green land with many castles and knight who have clan struggles over power and influence. The Current High King Saraminor grasps to hold his territories and keep potential rivals weak enough that they cannot usurp him. Heresy runs wild here and many ancient cults and gods are still worshipped here since the official solar faith collapsed with the empire. These used to survive in secret or the wilds and borderlands but many have become influential over territories. Every few years and every time a duke dies succession conflicts break out and the complex patterns of influence change. Five years of peace is as much as they manage. Soldiers from here are commonly veterans and serve as mercenaries in other lands. At any time there are regions having petty wars that sap the strength of the kingdom.  

d12 Aeostran Wilderness
1 Hungry troll hunting
2 Orc raiders riding dire wolves
3 Knight and entourage
4 Mercenaries on way to war
5 Merchant caravan
6 Cultists pretending to be merchants
7 Bear or weasel beastfolk raiders
8 Farmers to market or herding animals
9 Bandits plundering rich to help the poor
10 Orc slavers with prisoners
11 Orcs with trained war troll
12 Band of ogres robbing and eating travellers

A stormy mountainous land with many knights and barons operating in relatively isolated holds. King Vager Kromguard has been building a modern army and has superior metal arms and armour. Many stories of corrupt and cruel nobles have given the land a sour reputation and the serfs here are among the most miserable and traded like cattle. Some of the frontier warlords have been recruiting non-humanoids as troops and many lords employ some giants or trolls. Of all the the former empire, Tulan has begun to use matchlock and even newer flintlock muskets and blackpowder. While limited in mass combat use so far there are starting to appear small squads of gunners and small cannons. The churches here are weak and some places openly worship wicked gods. Torture and secret police are frequently used on the people

d12 Tulanian Borderlands
1 Giant or troll demanding food
2 Orc warband with troll or giant ally
3 Mutant bandits desperate for food
4 Robber knights on way to gruberhole
5 Knight and enterage
6 Marching soldiers
7 Witches and a supernatural pet
8 Goat or bat beast folk cultists
9 Dark templar clerics on way to evil cause
10 Wolves (1in6 led by werewolf)
11 Hungry ghouls hunting
12 Robed cultists performing black rites 
Always a frontier area with rampant poverty and crime, Valadran is a land of warlords and criminal cartels and merchants who keep the commoners poor and pressed. Since the empires fall humanoids and orcs are now common and employed as mercenaries. Old King Mordu is weak and the nobles do as they please. Elves and reptilians wage war on the borders constantly and the land corridor to Lamnutainia used un old times for trade than more recently for war has become increasingly overgrown in elven forestry. Reptilians with their ancient secrets are frequently blamed for all kinds of plots and schemes against humans. Orcs and humanoids are often employed to fight elves and reptiles. Malicious agents from Tulan undermine local authorities and some fear the pirates of shadelport might be infiltrating the vast criminal organisations.

d12 Valadrian Wilds
1 Bandits attacking poor 
2 Merchants with an armed escort
3 Merchant really thieves guild agents
4 Giant rock lizard hiding in roadside rubble
5 Elf skirmishers planting magic trees and harrying travellers
6 Lizardfolk riding pterodactyls spying 
7 Orc mercenaries hunting elves
8 Nervous poor farmers with meagre goods to market
9 Rat or lizard beast folk raiders
10 Goblin skirmishers (servants to wood elves)
11 Wolves (1in6 led by werewolf)
12 Starving beggars swarm anyone with food

The Great WIlds
This forested mountainous were always not under empire control and the borders were always a problem. Bandits, barbarians, demihumans and humanoids were always raiding from these wilds.Cultists always kept hidden dungeon and ruin temples on the borderlands and caused trouble. Since the empire fell these problems have constant swarms. The barbarian and tribal people have poured into the former empire states. These people were unwelcome but once it became apparent that elves had unleashed orcs and goblins to harry humanity and were rapidly growing forests to smother humanity. Dwarves formerly in their fortresses have been mining into Dutania because their technology is considered stolen secrets. Reptilians unseen for most of the third Empire have been seen with their huge lizard terror beasts. Some say snake folk wizards have infiltrated crime gangs, guilds and noble houses. These races all see the empire fall as their time to get revenge for a thousand years of empirical domination. 

d12 The Great Wilds
1 Elven knight and courtiers 
2 Goblin wolf or bat riders
3 Orc war band
4 Giant or troll or band of ogres
5 Barbarian or tribal folk who shun civilisation
6 Beast folk d4 1=stag 2=boar 3=goat 4=auroch
7 Mischievious sprites who turn nasty if you cant take a joke
8 Elven scouts patrolling for unwelcome humans
9 Dwarf craftsmen prospecting or cutting wood
10 Reptian warriors with war dinosaur
11 Magical faerie beast that leads hunters to doom or a curse
12 Tree folk watching woods for intruders

A vassal state of all three empires, the southern land had thriving coastal cities with splendid ancient palaces. The north were always rougher smaller citadels who would wage war without empire intervention.  The mountain interior was always wild and occupied by beast folk and monsters. Over millennia many wizards had settled on estates here and instead of knights, the nobility here are wizards. There were great magic schools and might magics made here and most of the empires wizards came from here. Then the empire fell and the wizards stopped paying taxes and sending wizards and magic weapons and ships to the emperor. Now Zorda is thriving and agents and wizards are going to the various former states seeking work and estates and influence for Zorda. Their trade has performed well and they have come to rival the warring west and Shadelport pirate fleets. They are a growing world power and increasingly godless. Many think Zorda may seize Lamnutania and make a 4th empire. Others think somehow Zorda aims at re making the blasphemous age of black magic. Merchants who have seen the decadence and drug abuse of wizards doubt both these fears.

d12 Zordanian Interior
1 Wizard and enterage
2 Tribal folk who hate wizards
3 Orc warriors who serve a wizard
4 Rebel bandits robbing wizards
5 Fish or ape beastfolk raiders
6 Slavers looking for victims
7 Soldiers in service to a wizard
8 Merchant caravan
9 Reptile folk led by a serpant folk wizard (possibly hidden by illusion)
10 Homeless mutants
11 Wyvern hunting
12 Flying wizard d4 1=pegasi 2=griffon 3=flying boat 4=broom or rug


  1. Hey,
    "About 20 3fold adventures are written in the north here."
    Should there be a link in this sentence?

    I'm sorry that I only ever comment when I find something that looks broken. I just have nothing clever to add about the stuff you write.

  2. broken link reporting is fine
    in this case there is no link
    link to patreon on this page but currently ive stopped - i had zero feedback on my last book and it isnt working for me at moment. There is some stuff on it ppl can grab I think if they join. May use it again but Im re evaluating my stuff on social media.


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Good feedback and suggestions inspire me to write more