It is time!
Its been over a year since I’ve been at an RPG table at all, an even longer since I have been behind the screen as a DM. Now, its time for me to return to my favorite non-competitive past time and start weaving stories.
I will be sending my adventurers in the wreckage of the Killbaran Empire, the shattered shell of what was once a great mageocracy and then a short lived dictatorial Empire. Now, in its rotting carcass over 30 city states and countless warlords and bandits vie for control of the what they can chew off.
I’ve based Killbar off a fairly straight forward Ancient Roman influence. In order to give it the roman feel, I’ve decided to use a Latin inspired language, along with having a government that had, just before its implosion, transitioned from a late Republic to an early form of Empire. Because not all Empires are destined to last, this one was quickly conquered, and its people thrown into disarray
Parminium sits in the north-center of the islands western coast, Just north of the Imerian Peninsula and south of the border with Old Jeslith. A coastal town, it was once an important trade hub with faraway lands and the rest of Killbar. This area of the country is home to a specific species of fish, the Bemitas, that is used in the favorite sauce, called garus, of many of the former nobles and mages. With the constant war, the market dried up with both foreign lands and Killbar itself. Once Killbar fell completely, many knew that prosperity was likely never to return. Many of the nobles fled, leaving a glaring void in power. The strong and ambitious took advantage of this vacuum.
The first to seize power was Alecius, a former centurion, who was leading a beaten and weary regiment away from the City of Killbar. Entering the town in need of water and supplies, he quickly established control of the town and started abusing the citizenry and his privilege. Eventually, he started raiding, with his band of like minded soldiers and recruited citizens, the nearby towns and villages. This stoked the resentment of a nearby warlord, who then raised arms against Alecius, took the town and beheaded him, taking control of the town in the process. This started a long chain of leaders, deposers, rioters and freedom fighters who have controlled the town off and on for nearly two decades.
The citizenry of Parminium used to be spread far and wide, with farms and villas run by the elite, landed, and noble. Now, all except those closest farms lie fallow, unworked in fear of bandits, raiders and soldiers all willing to slit a throat for profit and pleasure. Much of the surrounding area has gone to the wilds, with large predators, savage humanoids and all sorts of unsavory characters taking up residence wherever the warlords don’t root them out. This has caused a feedback loop where the citizens run to wherever it seems to be safe, which abandons greater swaths of areas to the wild and untamed, which then encroaches on the safe spots, continuing the cycle. Within the walls, under Magistrate Gallus, Parminium is one of the safer spots around. His soldiers patrol the fields around the town, enabling farmers to work the little land their is for meager sustenance of themselves and the city. Gallus’ taxes heavily, taking just under 50% of whatever the farmer managed to bring back to town. In addition, tax collectors roam the streets, given authority to collect their due from the delinquent and the wealthy. Both Soldiers and Tax Collectors are easily bribed and almost every one is corrupt to the core, able to be bought and sold nearly at will.
Ships, outside of pirate raids from both halflings and fellow Killbarans, are rarely seen in the once-busy port, resulting in a poor, rotting, stench-filled dock district along the mouth of the river on which they sit. Many shops sit barren and empty, with their two room apartments vacant and unprofitable above. Squatters have taken over much of the city, and are fed by Gallus the taxed bread and wine that he collects from the poor farmers.
What the Obsidian Vault Reclamation company is doing here is a mystery to most. Showing up 10 years ago as a group of 6, they sold themselves as mercenaries, bounty hunters and treasure seekers to anyone who could pay. Three members of this band fell to the vagaries of the life as an adventurer, and as they got older they realized they were getting to old for this. After a particularly successful stint rounding up a half dozen criminals and bringing them back to face Gallus’ justice, they retired from the violent life. Shortly thereafter, they started looking for adventurers to sponsor. While they had retired, some had not taken notice and they were inundated with requests. Some, which were beneath them before, now became a quick and easy way to make money, by hiring those who wanted to do the work for them. The Obsidian Vault was given singular status within Parminium to operate, as long as they gave a shockingly low 10% of their coins to Gallus. Reaching out across ruined Killbar, their recruiter Nimel Firesong, an old Tyndarian mage and thief, has found what looks to be a promising bunch of adventurers, willing to risk their life and limb for riches, real or imagined.