Unless their out in the far and distant wilds, characters are going to be inside the boundaries of somebodies claimed lands. That nation is going to have unique set of quirks and customs to hinder and help the adventurers. Add to this mix rulers with their own personal agendas and you’ve the potential for utter chaos when trouble inevitably kicks off. Here’s the transcript of our ideas from our 6d6 Think Tank on Kings and Things.
Jaye – Islen the Stone Hearted
The nation of Islen is ruled by King Oscbus, who has reigned now for over 300 years. The king’s longevity is because he is a rock elemental, carved to look like a human. He came to power through bribery and trickery. He arrived in Islen a century earlier and saved the bankrupt kingdom from ruin with his riches. In exchange, the old king gave him land and a title, going so far as to make the newcomer an elector. Putting his stone patience to work, Oscbus maneuvered the other dukes into electing him as the old monarch had no heir. It was only when he showed no signs of aging that questions started to be asked.
Fortunately, the populace of Islen are a pragmatic lot. Tired of the petty wars and conflicts caused by the nobility, they supported the chance at stability Oscbus represented. When the dukes tried to move against him, their levy’s refused service, forcing them to accept the new status quo.
In the present, Islen is a small nation, known as a country of extreme stability. It’s well equipped army is backed by mercenaries funded from the highly profitable mines the king himself surveyed. Whereas it’s neighbours suffer the turmoil of feudal war, Islen has known only peace for Oscbus’ reign. He sees little to be gained from war, when his country already has all it needs. As of Oscbus himself, he is truly an inscrutable rock. His courtiers describe him as a workaholic who needs no sleep. Whereas once becoming king was something he did to pass the time, he has taken to the responsibility and looks out for the welfare of his people. This has endeared him to his subjects, though the neighbouring royal families find him distasteful and a threat.
Emily – The Divines
The great noble island city state of Cathra is not ruled by one ruler but seven. The seven sisters of cathra, known as the divines are powerful Demi-gods, each a patron to their section of the isle and ruling together in peace. Each sister stands for one of the divine virtues – chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.
And all was well, however dark times have come and Chysti, the sister of humility is missing and without the elder sister to keep balance the sisters vitues are becoming warped and reversed into sin.
Emily- Queen of Sweet
All the courts and peoples have heard of the Queen of Sweet. Lady Isobel defleur is the most beauitful of her age, soft spoken and pure and always surrounded (on her brief public appearances) with the sweetest scent. She is young, short and always in the finest wigs, fills and dresses with a milky completion. However those that have been close to the queen it visited her rooms know the awful secret. The sweet scent that surrounds her has been created to disguise the horrible stench. The queen has pets, horrible slug like grub beasts that she dotes on like kittens, hugging and kissing the monsters. It is not known if these beasts or the mysterious figure who keeps sending them to her have bewitched her or she is simply mad.
Chris – King of the Ancestors
The city of Keenmouth appears as a prosperous city, no different from many others found across the continent. But beneath the streets there is something truly unique for the people of Keenmouth take ancestor worship seriously. Tradition decrees that the dead are placed in a cave along with their possessions and that the living visit them according to a strict schedule based on how long ago they died.
The supply of natural caves was used up a millenium ago so the folk of Keenmouth started excavating beneath the city. After a thousand years a massive warren of caves and passages exist and it is often crowded as the living visit their ancestors. After a few terrible events with undead and other subterranean creatures, the town council decreed that there should be a guardian to keep the caves safe. This was an important job, vital for everyone’s immortal soles and they could only give such responsibility to a trusted person.
The council choose to create a magic item which returned a recently dead personality to their corpse and gave it to the head of the town guard who had just died. Reanimated, the guard captain took up their duties underneath the streets and worked tirelessly to protect the living on their visits to the dead. When the current, living guard captain died, the animated captain handed the magic item and responsibility to the new corpse and departed to join the ancestors.
For a millenium this process has continued, item and responsibility handed down the line of dead guard captains. It acquired the nickname King of the Ancestors and is a hugely important and respected role in Keenmouth.
However the current, living guard captain is a half-elf and can be expected to live for several hundred more years. The current, dead, King of the Ancestors has already be king for 20 years and wants to be free to join the ancestor. So the King of the Ancestors has is looking for a party of unscrupulous adventurers to kill the guard captain…
Kristin – The Gossamer Conclave
The monarch of the Grand Colony, Queen Maria Elizabeth, has learned of the Gossamer Conclave. A powerful band of off-worlders secretly operating from her kingdom. As they seem to be behaving themselves the Queen has taken no action against the off-worlders but created ministry to watch over them. The Gossamer Conclave is a government in exile, forced out of their own world. It is headed by Queen Ashleigh and Prince Consort Leopold, both are powerful sorcerers though they keep that fact hidden. Their child and Heir-Apparent, Ari, is less than a month old.
The two Queens have forged an uneasy alliance which comes down to keeping out of each other’s affairs and it is in neither parties interest to draw attention to the presence of off-worlders in the Grand Colony. However Prince Ari has been kidnapped and Queen Ashleigh is on the war path. The characters belong to the ministry responsible for watching the Conclave and find themselves stuck between the two Queens as they desperately try to recover the child.
Mark – Robber Baron
- Mafiosa made king by becoming powerful enough to marry into the royal family.
- He’d only married in at a lower level, but a disaster put him in line
- Higher royals had gone abroad to attend a wedding, but a popular revolt there stormed the ceremony, leaving many dead and other imprisoned.
- The mafiosa has been blamed for orchestrating this, and the remaining nobles plot against him and his “ambition”
- However, he did not. He never wanted to be king, he only wanted more connections. Now he is a little out of his depth, but is being pushed from below to rule by his greedy lieutenants, and the threat of the nobility means he has to take the crown to have the power to defend himself
- His rule has actually been very good. He fell back on his old premises of treating subordinates well, punishing betrayal and making deals and compromises with rivals. THis has made him an effective ruler.
- Now, after a few years, his mafia and the state are almost indistinguishable. The police and tax collectors have been replaced by protection money, and as long as no one treads on anyone elses protection, then they are left alone to become as rich as they can.
- The law is based on protection. Anyone can buy protection from criminal damage (in the traditional way) but also protection from IP theft, protection from fire, protection from slander and libel. A sort of lawyer state, but the rates are actually pretty cheap.
- The Library of Protection is a major landmark that was built to house copies of all the protection contracts. It is open for anyone to peruse to make sure that they are not going to infringe anyones existing protection. The King also uses it to make sure they never sell conflicting contracts. As such, it is a resource of great intrigue.
Josh – The Stingqueen
Deep in the jungles of Ka’lek’toq stands a gigantic hive of resin and stone. Inside this monolithic structure lies an insect queen of equally gigantic proportions. A wise and benevolent ruler she guides her insect people in a nature caring existence. The jungles are her domain, nothing happens without her being aware. for even the most basic insect or arachnid is linked via a psionic network.
Despite her aloof and fun loving demeanor, she is a vengeful soul, foes are soon dispatched and used to fertilise the very jungle where they fall. Occasionally this can lead her into friction with other kingdoms. As she easily considers the life of someone despoiling her domain as one so simply snuffed out.
Plot hook – The players discover the corpse of one of her aggressors. a diplomat from another rival kingdom. Upon the corpse is a proclamation to the Stingqueen, if she does not surrender then her kingdom will be struck down and burned to ashes.
It is up to the players to garner a meeting with her and convince her that she is in trouble. For the Kingdom of Skor has many war constructs, enough to destroy everything the jungle represents.
Image Credit : King Emanuele II by Storm Crypt – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0