Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hex Mapping Part 8: Go For the Eyes, Boo. Go For the Eyes!

If you’ve been reading my blog (or many others in the OSR) for any length of time, you’ve likely seen praise heaped on Taichara’s Hamsterish Hoard of Dungeons & Dragons. Taichara doesn’t post often (the site is on hiatus right now) but when she does, it’s amazing stuff. Even better, if your players don’t read blogs much, they’ve likely missed out on all the hamsterish goodness. So they’ll have no idea what hit them after you unleash the hoard’s hordes upon them. Muah-ha-haaa...

I’ll be returning to the Hamsterish Hoard repeatedly for inspiration and monsters. Today, I’m going to use one of my personal favorites, the ankeri.

South and west of that northern V of mountains that cradle the human settlements, a pair of rivers wind out of the mountains, through some hilly terrain, and then join before continuing down to a swampy delta and then into the sea. Nestled along these waterways are the handful of villages and towns of the ankeri. Their homes are made of kiln-baked bricks and thatched with the grasses and reeds of the rivers. In addition to chickpeas and grains, the ankeri also farm papyrus (for they are a highly literate society) and various breeds of hamsters from which they weave an especially fine and water-resistant wool. Cricipters, especially albino ones, can also be found in grand aviaries in some of their temples, as they are seen as the messengers of the gods and the bringers of love and fertility.

The ankeri nation is a loose confederacy woven together by a shared faith. The supreme position of their priests makes their nation technically a theocracy, but it is a tolerant one that primarily wields influence though judicial means. Most personal matters and conflicts between clans are settled through an ornate and festive dueling culture. Matters that touch on the larger community are brought before a council of priests to adjudicate.

The ankeri are likely to serve as another group that might prove friendly to the PCs, or at least willing to deal with them as commercial customers. Trusted PCs may be able to buy maps of the lands surrounding the river communities of the ankeri. Even the best maps, however, won’t show anything beyond the mountains. So far as the ankeri are concerned, that’s terra incognita.

Cohesion among the ankeri is reinforced by their neighbors: two nations of merochi which live on opposite sides of the river, bracketing the ankeri civilization between them. (Hey, it’s my blog, I’m gonna pimp my critters too!) Each nation has its own ceremonial center, a broad plaza surrounded by stone-walled, curve-roofed barracks for visitors, the small complex where the priestesses who tend the site dwell, and a ziggurat temple. Few merochi can be found here, however; most dwell in scattered settlements where the males raise the young and supervise the slaves who tend their fields (many of whom are ankeri or gelded males) while the females hunt.

There’s a lot of interaction between the ankeri and merochi. The ankeri sell the merochi most of their pottery, clothing, and jewelry. In return, the merochi sell the ankeri leather, feathers, captured animals, and their services as mercenaries. Unattached merochi males frequently serve as guards in the homes of wealthy ankeri, or in the clan caravans of the sau'inpu merchants who travel between the settlements of both ankeri and merochi.

Among the slaves of the southern-most merochi are gnolls and thri-kreen. They can tell the NPCs something of the bizarre lands that lie further south, where the volcanoes still rumble with angry life, and fill the skies with clouds of strange ash.

And now a musical interlude: But-kicking For Goodness!


Anonymous said...

Obviously there is some new definition for the term "amazing" of which I am unaware. The shame of it? There are already good words to describe that 'blog without rewriting existing words: banal, insipid, pedestrian ...

trollsmyth said...

Anonymous: Trying to troll the Troll, are we? ;p

Dangerous Brian said...

An excellent series Troll. It's always great to see how other DM's set about things.

trollsmyth said...

Thanks, DB. :)