World Map WIP

World Map


Here’s the overall world that I run my adventures in.  I actually haven’t run adventures in most places here, play has mostly taken place in the northwest.



Northern Coast

Or more specifically, the northeastern portion of the Illyrian Empire, which can be divided, roughly speaking, into two seperate areas depicted above.  The northern area is less densely populated, and has to deal with problems from orcs living farther to the west, along the coastline and islands of Soulfreeze Bay.

The southern area is still northern, but is much more temperate and is starting to get into the heartland of the Illyrian Empire.

The Last Northern Wood is composed of three seperate forests; the easternmost of these forest, while also considered to be part of The Last Northern Wood, is also called the Lorthwood.

The Duchy of Cavens is a small independent state that is run by a joint council of paladins.

Northshore is the main trading town on the northern shore of The Sea of Peace.

Freeport is the second or third largest city in the Illyrian Empire, and the main trading city on The Sea of Peace.  A major traderoad runs east from Freeport to the city of Illyria.

Illyria is the largest city and the capital of the Illyrian Empire.

Saltpens, so named due to the salt mines in hill south of the town.  They are loyal Illyrians and are mostly immigrants from the Illyrian heartlands.

Lorthar is a small town, but it is still the largest Illyrian presence this far north.  Ruled by the Lorthar family, who were kings of the area here and extending east along Soulfreeze Bay, they are now part of the Illyrian Empire.  The heir to Lorthar and his wife were on campaign against the orc tribes to the east when his army was ambushed and, and they were both killed. Since then, Lorthar has been ruled by a regency, that has resulted in closer direct imperial control over the region, which has caused tensions.

Darlorthar is the secondary town in the northern area, they were once vassels of the old Lorthar kings, and are still smaller and subservient to them, but they are also part of the Illyrian Empire.  Darlortharians have a sizable minority that chafed under Lortharian control and thus are pro-Illyrian, but plenty more are still more locally loyal.

Lorthar and Darlorthar have original ethnic populations of humans native to the north, and are a distinctly different group than the common Illyrian.  They still maintain some of their old cultures, and are relatively un-assimilated into the Illyrian Empire despite their relative proximity to the center of the empire.

The First Empire and The Cataclysm

Many, many tens of thousands of years ago, there was only one intelligent species living on the surface of Aardsham.  Called now the Ur-People, they ruled over the whole of known lands, and had advanced control over both magic and technology, even going so far as to be able to create sub-races for specialized tasks, many of who live in the present day as one of the many myriad of demihumans and humanoids.

The First Empire collapsed when The Cataclysm, and enormous explosion of some type, struck Aardsham.  It complete shattered the continent, resulting in the Formation of the Turbulent Ocean and the island chains scattered there.  The Cataclysm destroyed the heart of The First Empire, and the resulting chaos and environmental shifts due to the The Cataclysm, led to the rapid decline and collapse of the Ur-People, and all that is left are scattered remains of there outlying cities.

The Elves are the closest descenants of the Ur-People; the Ur-People use a variant of the Elven Script in their writings.  Although technically, the Elves use a variant of the Ur-People script, their tongue has not been spoken since shortly after the collapse of the First Empire.

Old School Review 2 – Gary Gygax Himself, on the Old-School Style of Gaming

Old School Review 2 – Gary Gygax Himself, on the Old-School Style of Gaming.

Interesting read.  I feel it’s always important to remind myself of this when I’m setting up encounters for my PCs.  I strive to adhere to a more “realistic” world, in which I don’t change the difficulties of encounters to meet my PCs levels, neither easier nor harder.  I feel this adds to the challenge; I as a player, anyway, definitely enjoy this style of play.  I enjoy getting into my role, and having “balanced encounters” throw me out of that, because it reminds me it’s a game.

Random Encounter Checks

So, random encounters.  I’ve been following discussion over at the something awful forums on the new edition of D&D, and one of the thoughts that occurs to me is the lack of adapting what are really some classic, needed rules if one is to play old school D&D.

Random encounters are one of these rules.  Now, rolling up a monster is easy, everyone and their mother has written up a random table to roll on to see what creatures the PCs encounter.

What I have seen less of, however, is how often to roll on these tables.  So I’m going to share how I decide to do so.

First off, frequency of random encounter rolls mean that there is a possibility of a random encounter, so one must first roll to see if the PCs even encounter anything.  I keep it simple; I roll a d6, and on a 1, there is a random encounter.

Frequency of rolls? Well, that’s another entirely more complicated matter.  Because it depends on the situation.  As a guideline, I usually break it down as follows:  Wilderness Areas, I roll once every eight hours.  Small urban/town areas, I roll once every twelve hours.  In large urban/town areas, I roll once every six hours, and in dungeons, I roll once every hour.

Now, circumstances can change the frequencies of these rolls.  Recently, for example, my PCs have been in a swamp that is being fought over, so random encounter rolls were made, on average, every four hours. Dungeon frequency rolls are based on the assumption that the PCs presence is unknown, so once it is discovered they are there, the frequency of random encounter checks will increase, and even this will vary depending upon how much the monsters know is going on.  If it is a large complex, and some materials are just found awry, it might only decrease to once every half hour, whereas if the PCs leave a chamber full of bloody corpses, it might well decrease to once every ten minutes, or once every five, as the entire complex is mobilized.

Siege Weapons

Remember that battle scene at the beginning of Gladiator?  When the Romans let loose with their catapults, rock throws, ballistae and scorpions and absolutely shredded the forest the Germanic Army was hanging out in?  Yeah, that was pretty awesome.


So where are my rules for siege weapons in 3.xx?  There aren’t really any that I’ve seen.  So I’m throwing out some of my thoughts on how to run them in my quest to solidify a set of rules, so that my PCs can stop harraugning me about getting weapons mounted on their ship….but I digress.

Weapon Proficiencies 

I was thinking of divided siege weapons into two general categories, ballistae and other direct LOS weapons, and arching weapons that can go over obstacles.  Call them Catapults and Ballistae, I suppose.  I think they would fit best as Martial Weapons; any soldier worth his salt should have at least as much familiarity with these as pretty much any other common medieval weapon.

I had an idea, that the RoF for these weapons, since they are generally manned by a crew, is to make the RoF dependent on Passing Profession(Artillerist) or Profession(Siege Engineer)checks.  More complicated weapons would require more checks.  So, for instance, a scorpion might only require two checks, whereas a trebuchet might require more like ten.  Each crewman can only do one check per turn, and each weapon would have a maximum number of crew, since above a certain number they would just get in each others’ way.  I think this would work well to cover the whole “you can still fire with less people, you just fire slower”.

Once the crew has made the needed number of skill checks, then whoever in the crew is assigned as the aimer makes an attack roll as if it were a normal missile attack. Ballistae and other LoS weapons, being basically larger versions of crossbows, would be targeted against single targets and do a massive amount of damage on a hit.

I can see the arching weapons basically using the thrown weapons table; they can target a specific piece of terrain at AC 10, normal penalties apply.  I don’t really see catapults and the like being accurate enough to target a single person; you chunk at a large group of people and hope the wide area of effect of your attack gets them.

Example Weapons

Weapon                                 Damage                  Type            Range             Skill Checks            Maximum Crew

Scorpion                                2d8                            P                200 ft                     2                                2

Rock Thrower                        1d8/10 ft radius        B               250 ft                     4                                4


Debating whether allowing more crew than is needed to fire the weapon in a round, to allow some weapons to have multiple shots in a round?

Anywhoo, just some initial thoughts.

Campaign World Overview!

I haven’t spoken much about the larger world of my campaign setting.  Part of this is to make sure my players, who read this blog, don’t get access to GM only information, part of it is that I have been settling details down in my mind before I put them to paper, or, in this case, screen.

The world I run is called Aardsham.  The majority of land on Aardsham is located in roughly a starburst pattern around an inner ocean called the Turbulent Ocean.  The largest continent is called Jazkabra.  The world is round, so it is possible to sail from one end and reach the other, but as Aardsham is roughly the size of Earth, and Jazkabra and the nearby islands make up a mass of land roughly the 150% the size of Africa, there is a lot of water to sail through.

Aardsham orbits a yellow star called Koranar quite similar to Sol.  It has one moon, roughly the same size as ours but closer, so it appears about half again as large as our own.  Although Aaardsham has a climate quite similar to Earth’s, Jazkarba is located in the northern hemisphere, and so they only have sub-artic zones in the northern reaches of the continent.

There are three other planets in the Koranar system. They are called Wahd, Ithin, and Thala.