I continue rushing headlong into the second year of writing Coldforged material, and this year I hope to cover enough topics in preparation to print as is possible. I hope we’re in the home stretch. I’m starting a new series here about writing adventures and trying to get the flavor of Coldforged setting to come through. This week, I explore what styles of adventures each region would have, and then how that fits into the overall setting.
A Regional Flavor
Since the genesis of the Coldforged setting, I have known that I wanted to make sure to spotlight the fact that the kingdoms on the island are not grand and powerful empires, glorious kingdoms, or powerful churches. Instead, I wanted to enjoy the way that the world acted on a smaller, more local scale, while also having the overarching actors interact with each other, nonetheless. This often means that adventures in that setting are localized to the specific issues that a given region or kingdom experiences, but creates echoing ramifications throughout the continent.
Not all adventures need to be so drastic, however, and oftentimes fun, enjoyable specific adventures can impact the players and the region as much as would world-spanning adventures. It’s one of the reasons that I’ve decided against running campaigns past 17 anymore: That age is done, the huge events have happened. it’s time to focus on the small and enjoyable ones. Below are the focal points of the adventures that would make the most sense in most regions, and then the kingdoms.
Adventures in the northern tundra tend to focus first and foremost on survival. The land is brutal and miserable, with a multitude of ways to ensure a long, painful end. Players may need to retrieve a relic from a long-abandoned Hyran ruin, or perhaps they must track a great beast that has been attacking villagers or locals deep into the wilderness. Levishan characters may be moderately familiar with the ways of the north and its beauty in the summer month.
Characters who are from the North are likely individuals with deep connections to the land and their families. It is a strong and elemental land that forges enduring connections through the communal hardships that each isolated community experiences. These characters can be sent into the wilds in response to shamanic visions, prophetic omens, or simply as a harsh coming of age ritual. In addition to many of the more fantastic reasons, sometimes the most basic of actions in the north are powerful adventures. Characters could be trusted to hunt down a powerful monster to provide food for the group for months, or to secure nearby winter quarters that have been overrun by hostile enemies.
Adventures in the Ironarm Mountains are often ones of harsh environments and tough landscapes, but not in the same frigid and deadly manner that the Northern Taiga contains. Rocky outcroppings, dead drops, and perilous cliffs are all regular and routine aspects of the Ironarms. Most incursions into the Ironarm are retaliatory, striking against rebellious Thraxians, bandits, ogres, giants, and most often, cyclops. These unruly monsters often inhabit tough lands that require significant survival skills and adventuring prowess in order to navigate initially, and then furthermore to eliminate the threat permanently.
There are few characters that would hail from the Ironarm Mountains, though those few who do are rugged, tough, and amazingly individualistic. They often defend their land from those who would take it from them, insisting on their independence from those who would rule them. They also have to protect themselves from the same problems that project themselves from the Ironarm, with marauding monsters, invaders, and bandits a constant threat.
The rocky northern highlands are a refuge for many from the wars of the rest of the kingdoms, many of which converge in this region. Its rocky and treacherous terrain prevents large forces from converging in the area except for specific passes and paths. Adventures in the area are often focused on battling bandits, being bandits, and fending off the rapacious monsters of the area. Often, the Highlands are safe havens for those seeking to remain anonymous, out of the way, and act with general secrecy. The people within ask few questions, and only care how you treat your neighbors.
Those who live in the northern highlands often do so specifically to escape or have lived so long within that they despise the Kingdoms of the continent. Killbarans, Tyndarians, Levishans and smallfolk all rub shoulders here in the unclaimed and untamed reaches, and they fight off any attempt to subdue them. Those who adventure often seek out those strange and wondrous cities to the south, in order to seek fame and glory, but also to return to their homes with new magic and technology, new skills and abilities in order to maintain their way of life.
Within the Aloran plain are the ruins of at least three distinct civilizations, and the rotting remains of a fourth. The Alorans and the Tyndarians jointly live in a number of small cities, but many larger, important cities of the past lie in abandoned ruins. Adventures here often focus on one of two extremes, either plundering the dungeons and cities of the past for treasures of ages gone, or the political intrigue and trickery of those who still live here, varying from assassinations to raids and all-out warfare. It’s a land in turmoil and the adventures here reflect that.
Adventurers who hail from the Aloran plain tend to be part of the 10 Kingdoms, though whether they are loyal to their kingdom is always in question. They are often agents of the nobility, working towards furthering the goals of the house, be that duplicitous or loyal. Monsters, of course, do roam the region, but it is much less dangerous here, in the long tamed lands than those to the north.
Far to the South, the grey morass is a treasure trove of adventures. Here the Children of Jet plot to further their dark goals, sending out raiding parties, digging up ancient treasures, and communing with dark deities from beyond time and space. Adventures here contest these goals, often seeking retribution for raids or the interruption of some powerful ritual seen in visions of the deities trying to prevent it. The Morass is seen as a location of great concern for many of the kingdoms, though attempts to pacify it have universally failed.
Characters from the Gray Morass are rare, and often shunned, known to be loyal to their Dragon Lord above all else. Their adventures may be sent out to procure information on possible attacks, to scout towns and villages for raids, and to locate artifacts to empower their leaders and religious figures to perform rites beyond their current meager powers.
The Drimmak mountains are littered with amazing vistas; Jagged peaked mountains, gorgeous valleys, serene rivers, and unbelievable fjords. It is here, amid the glorious heights that the dangers of the giants and their kin lurk. Adventures focused on the Drimmak often center on these giants, and the Aldashiri Dwarves desire to reclaim their homes. Assaults against giant strongholds, border fortresses, and other outposts are the most common, with others seeking to reclaim important heirlooms or lost treasure from those halls within
Adventurers from Drimm are one of two types: Exiled Dwarves and aloof Voskag. The Drimmen are often focused on their goal of returning to their home, in one way or another, and seek martial and arcane skills, allies, and other methods that will ensure that they are able to succeed when the time comes to reconquer their homes. The Voskag is the opposite, and are rarely sent away from their homes. Those who venture into the world do so due to extremely personal reasons ranging from loss of a loved one, to have committed an unforgivable crime to simple loneliness.
On the southern coast of the continent, a number of the 10 kingdoms reach the sea. These kingdoms are often concerned with trade and commerce, focusing on bringing in the most revenue to those in charge of these kingdoms. Counteracting that desire is the ever-present danger of the water itself. The coast is home to a number of dangerous and sometimes hostile civilizations, from Crab and Shark folk to aquatic elves and merfolk. The many rivers, deep deltas, and offshore islands are inhabited by these folk, and the constant conflict with these people defines many adventures.
Those who hail from the south are sent on adventures of dire importance and need by their superiors in the region, though often the exact reason this is amazingly relevant is often kept secret from those performing the task. ruins of the fallen Eshkin kingdom litter the land and their descendants are those same who search those fallen cities and dungeons for the lost treasure of the kingdom, from magic to wealth to lore. Dangers from the water must also be dealt with, and force, negotiation, and trade are all reasonable actions according to the southern coastal princes.
Until next time,