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 Kingdom would have, and then how that fits into the overall setting.
The Flavor of a Kingdom
Regions, or specific geographic locations on the continent, are very different from the Kingdoms of the continent. There are regions within each Kingdom, often with different cultures and civilizations and even conflicting value systems and patron deities, but there is, at the very base level, cohesion to the kingdom. Regions are not restricted in such ways and are often outside the reach of many Kingdoms. I went through the flavor that each region provides to its adventures last week, and this week I’m going to take a look at how the flavor of each Kingdom would direct an adventure.
The 10 Kingdoms
Thought the Kingdom of Tyndaria has fractured into warring kingdoms, the underlying culture remains similar enough between these kingdoms to make broad generalizations of the types of adventures they would focus on. Adventures here are easily focused on two broad categories: The Military and Political manipulation. These need not be separate adventures, and often the politics of the Kingdom are inevitably tied up in the military ventures of crusades, civil war, raids, and retribution. Sometimes the Military action is against other Tyndarian Kingdoms, and other times it’s against marauding orcs, wild beasts, or Killbaran forces. Political endeavors vary wildly, from assassination plots to power grabs and coups of houses and kingdoms. It’s an unstable place with unstable situations.
Characters from the 10 Kingdoms are likely stoutly loyal to their local nobles while being appalled by the actions of other regions nobles. their Royal house would, of course, do no such thing. These characters are likely sent out on missions to further the status and prestige of the local areal or to protect it from some harm. Tyndarians are much more concerned with the local situation than they are with situations beyond their reach and control.
Killbarum City States
When Killbar fell, the whole of the Republic fell with it. Adventures within its borders are almost always connected to the arcane. Wizards towers, both occupied and abandoned, cause problems of similar magnitudes, as do Arcane Colleges. Additionally, the warlords of the area are in a constant state of raids and warfare, struggling against one another in the hope to become the most influential and powerful leader. Perhaps they have to explore a wizards tower for a powerful item, or infiltrate an opposing city-state, or even lead a raid against an enemy strong point.
Adventurers from Killbarum are often those who seek freedom from the constant struggles of the warlords and leaders of the city-states. They may seek their own power and glory, in battle against powerful enemies, or they could be seeking revenge or justice for those who’ve wronged them. Many Killbarans have suffered greatly, and seek to bring to justice those who wrong others. Unlike many of the other Kingdoms, the Killbaran is often motivated and adventuring for their own, deeply personal reasons.
When Levisha locked itself off from the rest of the continent and then proceeded to unleash a virulent and monstrous disease on their own population, the locked themselves behind multiple barriers that impede adventures from entering. Stories centered in Levisha are often going to be survival against the plague, lost cities, and towns, and the incursion of the untamed wild into the now collapsing civilization. It should have a vast, post-apocalyptic feel to it, with points of light glimmering within the vast and chaotic wood.
People who hail from the Forest of Lev are often adventurers who have made their escape from that selfsame forest. It’s a dark place that many seek to escape from, some seeking a solution, and others seeking simple escape and survival. Adventurers in the forest are often sent on long and dangerous trade expeditions, as well as preventative raids against the feral and plague mad fey that wander the forest. It is a constant struggle in the forest simply to survive.
The forest of Thrax is home to over a score of competing, raiding tribes who struggle against each other and against the outside world to be understood. The tribes raid and compete among each other in both traditional and unconventional ways, striving to bring glory to both the individual and the tribe. Adventures here center mostly around the life of the tribe, its shamans and leaders, and its activities that lead to greater martial influence within the forest. The scattered ruins within the forest are often used as tests of adulthood, proving to the tribe that the adventurer is worth becoming part of the tribe. Monsters, too, are a constant threat, with giants, cyclops and other creatures searching for weaknesses in the tribes defenses.
Many Thraxians adventure for sheer thrill and glory. The stories that are brought forth from a wandering life of adventure are the point of life itself, and the path that they walk, participating in the greatest events, standing side by side with the heroes of the continent as equals, across the continent bring standing and reputation to the individual and the tribe. Others still seek distinction raiding at home, performing unmatched deeds and proving their prowess to everyone who can see, seeking to become the next great chieftain, shaman, or simply greatest warrior hero of them all.
Izkoret and Halorath
As out of the way and isolated as Izkoret and Halorath are, they can still be the subject of interesting and enjoyable adventures. Many of these will focus on the inner workings of the Conclaves, procuring new information and supplies, and on rare occasions defending the valley from intruders. Incursions by monsters are fairly rare, though not impossible. Every once in a while, these adventures can revolve around the location and apprehension of a fugitive from the cities, and the erasure of their memory of the Cities.
Adventurers from the twin cities are likely to be those who seek out and locate individual components of experiments, and who must keep the secret of where they come from completely hidden. Rare ores, gems, and creature parts are components that are in high demand in the city, and a great fortune could be made procuring them. Additionally, the cities defense force is always on the lookout for those who might cause trouble within the city limits, looking to give them an outlet by controlling the defense automatons and preventing intruders.
Aldashiri adventures focus around two very broad categories: Advancing the political power of the internal players of the citadel and preparing to retake the Drimmen Mountains from the Giants and their kin. This can manifest itself, however, in many ways. Political power rests both in the power to command and the power to compel, and each of the individuals who seek power under the king seeks to do so through both direct action and proxies, with adventurers often acting as those proxies. They take action against enemies, are hired as mercenaries, located objects of power, and lead forces. Preparation to retake the Drimmen Mountains is much the same, though the focus shifts to constant training and continuous experience, so as to be as hardened as possible when the time comes to finally bring the power of the Drimmen people to bear.
Adventurers from Aldashir are likely militarily focused, belonging to one of the holy orders and seeking to train themselves in preparation for the war against the giants. They train in command as well as rank and file and are encouraged to learn a wide variety of skills in order to be the most useful on the battlefield. Additionally, they are likely to have their skills sold to the highest bidder by the King of Aldashir, as they are all mercenaries within the citadel. Fighting for whatever cause pays the most can harden a person mentally as well as physically, and many who do this for to long become jaded and rough.