Sunday, May 18, 2014

Flowerland 20 Questions

Alakanthus is a mostly-pre-colonial horrible fantasy New World. However, it is shamelessly anachronisticmodernish technology, like airboats, diesel engines, and radios exist. The important thing is  that it is loud, unreliable, vents smelly exhaust, and could plausibly be found in a shitty riverside fishing camp. The colonizers, from the Empire of (Pernicious) Albion are vaguely Victorian England. They want Alakanthus, they want all of it, and they have the muscle and money to get it. Full control is still a ways away; Houndport provided a toehold on the continent that the Empire is only now beginning to exploit. The native Beast Tribes are mostly subsistence farmers and hunters, and they aren't passive subjects of invasion. There have been at least two other major empires in Alakanthus, and the Tribes are the only ones left standing.  

Magic is pretty rare. The Empire can't spare the resources to send many honest-to-goodness magicians (though the Church of the Sovereign Mother maintains some subtle-but-powerful wards around Houndport), and the sorcery of Alakanthus kills or transmutes its users too often for its practitioners to be common. Sun Giant devices are mostly destroyed or locked away in their mouldering complexes. Non-humans other than the Beast Tribes are almost nonexistent. There are a handful of Night Tribe sorcerers not crystallized into monuments or destroyed in whatever catastrophe ended their empire, and a few bunkers still hold fallen Sun Giants, though for what purpose no one knows. 

by marsmettnn tallahassee, distributed under Creative Commons
by Marie Coleman, distributed under Creative Commons
20 Questions by J Rients

What is the deal with my cleric's religion? Most Alakanthines worship nature and ancestor spirits. Shamans can speak directly to these spirits, as well as perceive their influence when they meddle with human affairs from the spirit world. Powerful and canny shamans form pacts with these minor gods, though these deals can easily go wrong, even if the shaman abides by the terms of the pact. Shamans have another job—purifying or soothing the spirits corrupted or enraged by intruders, sorcerers, or polluters. Clergy of the Church of the Sovereign Mother are big NPC nasties.

Where can we go to buy standard equipment? Morrison Morrison in Houndport runs a store most of the gear you’ll need, but if you want new weapons, armor, or anything unusual, you’ll have to find a smuggler or bribe a quartermaster.

Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended? Samuel is a mechanic with a workshop on the southern edge of Houndport. He doesn’t ask too many questions, but the Interim Governor has it in for him.

Who is the mightiest wizard in the land? The Beast Tribes speak of a terrible Pythoness far to the east. Royal Warlock Jack Helton is the greatest of the settler’s wizards, but he has been on an expedition out in the wilds for the last year, and is not expected to return. There is undoubtedly some Night Tribe horror buried away that could annihilate either with ease, but everyone, Beast Tribe and Houndporter alike, would rather not think about that.

Who is the greatest warrior in the land? The Coyote Prince demonstrated his supremacy as a warrior to the Beast Tribes by felling the League Long Crocodile. However, the Old Worlders favor Lieutenant Charlotte Black, who single-handedly gunned down a Bear bandit gang when the killed the rest of her patrol.

Who is the richest person in the land? Interim Governor Lascelle is the scion of a staggeringly wealthy trading company, but until the Queen selects a Governor Proper, she cannot pursue her business interests freely.

Where can we go to get some magical healing? You mostly can’t. There is a hospital in Houndport that will hasten recovery from serious illness and injury. There is a Bat village a couple days to the south of Houndport with a talented shaman, but the Church of the Sovereign Mother is already sending missionaries to convert or reeducate them.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath? Powerful spirits, such as Hungry Grandmother or Son of Rain, can lift curses and cure illnesses, but their shrines are distant and their prices unpalatable. The right sort of Night Tribe sorcery could probably work, but they almost always cause more problems then they solve.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells? Sorcerers in numbers greater than one tend to kill each other pretty quickly, so no. Students of the forbidden should seek out Night Tribe monuments if they wish to learn more, though doing so risks annihilation or possession by the monument’s resident/prisoner. Becoming a proper magician would require spending several years in a university in Albion, as well as the acquisition of a Magician’s License.

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC? The Royal Society outpost contains scholars from a variety of fields. If you want services from someone with a more dubious profession, post a classified in the Iron Conch Inn, but be subtle—agents of the Queen stop by from time to time.

Where can I hire mercenaries? The Iron Conch Inn is the place to go. Sellswords and soldiers of fortune look for work there.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law? Practitioners of Alakanthine sorcery are to be sanctified and incinerated by order of the Sovereign Mother and will be exorcised and ritually drowned by the Beast Tribes. Interim Governor Lascelle has banned the purchase and open carrying of weapons by civilians, but those who already have them can keep them without penalty. The residents of Houndport hate thisthey live in a frontier town surrounded by miles of crocodile-infested swamp, and so there is a healthy black market.

Which way to the nearest tavern? The Iron Conch Inn is for the hoi polloi. Military officer and the wealthy dine and drink on the first floor of the Grand Willowaithe Hotel, which, while not nearly as nice as its name would suggest, is as close to high class as the monied of Houndport can get. 

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous? Killing a crocodile or python will earn you some serious credit. Sun Giants and Night Tribe sorcerers are rare and extremely dangerous. Members of the Royal Society have been wanting to dissect a panther demon for some time.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight? Nope, but the Crown is gearing up for a large scale “pacification effort” to create a sister-colony for Houndport.

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes? There’s a fighting ring held behind the Iron Conch Inn every night. Someone’s been organizing serious gladiator matches out in the swamp ever Tuesday.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?Wouldn’t you like to know.

What is there to eat around here? Meat is mostly fish and crow. Crocodile is a delicacy. Planters have had luck with rice, sugar cane, and orange trees, but large farms are rare. Little livestock, since there's not enough grazing land or grain to feed them.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for? The machines and devices of the Sun Giants, the dangerous monuments and vanishingly rare texts of the Night Tribe, the (hopefully mythical) Azoth Fountains, the uncountable riches of the City of Crocodiles.

Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure? The Beast Tribes say the nearest Sun Giant bunker has got something seriously nasty living in it, but those ruins are also stuffed with some major wealth and tech.

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