Monday, July 28, 2014

Fantasy in the Blasted Future

In my last post I talked about setting a "Lamentations of the Flame Princess" game in the future after a catastrophic event. But my description did not go into any detail about what cultures and nations might look like in that world. So here I am writing to further broaden the way different parts of the world devolved yet still mimic the reality that had once been.
Kandah - The cold heavily forested planes of Kandah contain many small remote villages. Hunters, loggers and farmers eke out a meager existence living in constant fear of the long dark nights. To the West as the hardwood forests climb great mountains the villages become larger and farther apart, here miners explore the bones of the earth, wresting riches from the old mines of ages past now the home to thriving colonies of beasts that would be best left undisturbed in their holes. The riches of mining towns make them hubs for foreigners as well as the people from the woods. Moving further north brings travelers to a harsh arctic waste. Few beyond the tribes that live there have returned from those frozen lands and those that do have merely explored its frozen eastern coasts. The treasures and relics that might still exist preserved in that frozen wasteland will make legends of those strong enough to succeed.
Swerzirlind - This land is nestled in and around steep mountains. These mountains serve to insulate the land from predations of the outside world but they they also divide it. This has caused two major factions to vie for power over the people and trades routes. They are the Cantonians and the Zureich, although many other small groups can be found living in remote villages hoping to remain unnoticed by the conscriptors of forces larger than themselves. The largest faction are the agnostic Cantonians, followers of the crown Prince Haldritch Zwingli, who control the trade routes and given recent trouble with religious fanatics have taken to eradicating all organized religion. These actions fueled the ire and ranks of the opposed Zureich. Once just a free city in the heart of Swerzirlind it has become the epicenter for the Church of Monotheism. The Zureich defend their faith militantly with non-believers, unwilling to convert, being executed without need for cause. Other prominent groups vehemently against the dominant factions include Monotheists of the Later Prophets, Monotheists of the First Church, and Monotheists of the Free Orders.
Ghula - Walled holdfasts stand atop natural and manmade hills bastions of safety poking out above the Black Forests of Ghula. These holds frequently war with each other keeping trade and communication across long distances to minimum. While some semblance of a once unified Ghulian people might exist in the language and engineering, each village is a stylized subculture with their own unique take own what it means to be Shulian creating a morass of taboos and etiquettes difficult to master and easy to cross. Blood cults, headhunters seeking to honor or trap the spirit of their enemy to prevent retribution from beyond the grave, and ritualized necrophilia before the deceased are interred are additional horrors villages might have in store for explorers. As if the villages weren't dangerous enough, the untrod paths in the black forests hide worse degenerates and beasts too wicked to be exposed to the light of day.
The Divided Isles of Welschlen - The major island of Welschlen as well as the smaller islands and newly founded island colonies are united under one king, the recently coroneted Kyor of Rutland. But King Kyor does not sit the thrown unchallenged. The Green Isle is fomenting a new bid for freedom. It has rebelled several times throughout the years creating generations of mistrust, harsh laws, and even famines all to keep the people week and subjugated to the Welshlen throne.  Yet these are not the only troubles on the Green Isle, creatures of fairy also lay claim to the islands and they too have gained a strong foothold on the Green Isle and are branching out to the others. Kyor’s predecessors would have cut down such insurrection quickly with iron and fire but the Welschlen squabble internally over who should have been lord. Many support Kyor and his house under the banner of the White Lilly others disenfranchised or slighted by Kyor’s lineage have begun flocking to House Whelles of the Red Carnation. Weakening the will of both houses to remain at war with one another are the savage raiders from the North and West. They strike the Isles without mercy and with the fastest, lightest, and shallowest ships known.
Ravenna – The Empire of Ravenna, is a corrupt nation, any kind of vice can be bought or sold here. The empire has been held together and expanded by generations of strong Emperors and a pragmatic approach to the absorption of cultures and religions. But while every religion is theoretically equal two religions have greater standings with the nobility the Arcane Cult of Ottovacarian Divinity and the Devoted of the Quicksilver Blade. The Arcane Cult of Ottovacarian Divinity are the only wizards tolerated within Ravenna and their religious and arcane magic has been honed to help detect and defeat threats to Ravenna and her rulers. This protection has naturally secured their prominence, protection, and wealth. The Devoted of the Quicksilver Blade are an order of militants that worship and train for war. This makes their devotees the best trained and single minded forces in the empire. Many of in the warrior class are lay adherents, paying for services and advanced training in combat arts. This makes them first in line for promotion and elite duties. It is also rumored that the Devoted have stockpiled and understand the use of weapons from before the fall of civilization and rise of Ravenna.
Sajavedra   – A war torn barely legendary land. Jungles and abandoned rice fields dot the landscape. Meanwhile energies of a war, incomprehensible to the people surviving in the Sajavedra today, leech into these same fields and jungles warping flora and fauna alike. As this blasted and town landscape loses its connection to the world that was petty ancient gods of the land are awakening. Their sleep disturbed by the changes happening around them and the lack of propitiations offered up to them.
Although none of these regions specifically mentions the ruins of fallen civilizations, I've intentionally left that out. What technology or ruins are left is up to the game and much easier to sprinkle into things. But cultures based on history and places takes a little more planning and inspiration which is all I can hope to achieve with this post.

My inspiration for the places and cultures are from many varied sources. Kandah was inspired by Hiero’s Journey as well as the ‘Brave New World’ campaign/adventure. Swerzirlind is Switzerland with a dash of the reformation and theories that Knights Templar hid there to avoid persecution, now after the fall of civilization they return to rebuild civilization under their view after thousands of years.  Welschlen should obviously be the British Isles during the War of the Roses with added rebellion and mythic fey from Ireland. Ghula is Gaul at the peak of the Celtic civilizations. Ravenna was once the seat of the Roman Empire and this is its rebirth. While the Sajavedra if taken whole cloth from Kenneth Hite's Qelong adventure.