Wisdom of the Drylanders update



Oct 01, 2006 7:41:52
Wisdom of the Drylanders, version 2, with new articles, art, maps, NPC blocks, feats, and PrCs (not to mention an improved layout), is now available here. Thanks to all that assisted and contributed!
Lost Cities of the Trembling Plains continues to progress on target for this year. Lost Cities and subsequent projects will continue to give you a better picture of the forgotten north.


Oct 02, 2006 18:12:07
We have added two articles, a lot of art, some feats, PrCs, and NPCs to Wisdom of the Drylanders.

The Two articles are "Wisdom of the Trembling Plains," and "Wisdom of the Storm Coast." This is added information on the Eloy herders between Kurn and Eldaarich, information and maps of South Guard, pictures of Camp Zero and Fort Mudwatch, including marvelous images of Eldaarich's "mud quarry" system that Prodigy discussed in Wisdom of "Terror." Also a little discussion of the ramification of Prodigy's defection to The Order.


Oct 02, 2006 19:18:55
Just an FYI, but it looks like one of the tables in the back for the PrCs is messed up a bit.


Oct 03, 2006 9:36:56
I caught the table glitch, smoothed out a couple other formatting problems from the conversion, added a few more cool graphics that the artists sent me this week, and submitted the file for conversion and mounting again.



Oct 03, 2006 16:43:59
That's a pretty cool release, TheBrax. Loads of great source material in there that can enrich any DS game. Killer. The artwork of the bridges in particular is very striking.

The main criticism I would have (apart from those already mentioned above) is that, because the material is presented "in-character", it can require considerable editing before being released to players (especially if Kurn is still a secret in the game, for example). There are lots of excellent pieces of background material that are described from the perspective of a Kurnan spy. If you don't want Kurnan spies featuring in your game, you need to edit this stuff. Not a huge problem, but it would have been more immediately useful if it were presented in a more neutral fashion.

Also, the map on page 26 is hard to read in places. It might look better if expanded to fill a whole side. As it stands, it's a bit of a mess in places.

Beyond those issues, a great product .


Oct 03, 2006 22:08:53
Oh, I *definitely* wrote WotDL as a DM resource, unless you have a PC who is playing a Kurnan spy. :D And I kept it third person so that DMs can pick and choose what's true, what's inference, what's point of view and what's wishful thinking or misinformation. There's one spot where if you look carefully, the spymaster speaking lies outright.

The Lost Cities, City-State of Kurn, and Prison-State of Eldaarich projects do more what you're describing, offer more of a 3rd person description, but it's not something that I'd give players either. I do have a small of player handouts that I'll probably finish later and publish separately.

I'm as dissapointed as you to how the map converted, and I'm working on a solution as we speak. I fear that the pdf I'm making may end up being way too bulky, since it saves the objects separately in the PDF, allowing you to blow it up to ridiculous dimensions.


Oct 03, 2006 22:26:06
Sugar in one hand, club in the other :D

I do like the material - it gives some interesting material to play with.

I don't like the double templar - I think I already gave you my two bits on that when I seen it before Brax.

Can't wait to see the other material for this region.


Oct 03, 2006 22:33:32
I'd not want to share the map in WotDL with players (unless they'd somehow earned the information from a source that could give it to them!) but it's possible that in LC that we might make a small flip book of maps and pictures that the DM can share with players. Nothing as thorough as the old books we have great artists but we can't produce art on that kind of volume, sadly.

This is the sort of player handout that I was talking about above:

Travelers’ Guide to South Guard
Approaching the Fortress

Do not approach South Guard if you can avoid it, unless you have considerable stealth skills, or if you march at the head of an army. South Guard is a complex of forced labor camps, and they are always looking for new blood. Most slaves at South Guard were captured by Red Guards, but if the Shtas overseers observe any stranger loitering near their gates, they will “recruit” them promptly.
During moonlit nights, slaves continue to work inside the camps
The Fortress Gates
The gates remain closed from dusk until dawn. Armored but generally poorly armed Shtas overseers patrol the 20 foot walls all day and night.
Where to Stay
The Shtas keep their slaves in pits, trenches over 1200 feet long and 15 feet wide, with over a thousand slaves per pit.
Where to Find Something to Eat, and Where to Board your Mount
The Shtas will relieve you of your mounts shortly before branding you and throwing you in the pits. If you bring Kanks to South Guard, the Shtas will keep them for honey production. Other types of mount will generally be eaten.
Where to Shop
It is difficult to shop in South Guard, partly because there are no shops, and partly because all slaves are stripped naked on arrival, and periodically searched to see if they are carrying anything. Nevertheless, slaves trade favors, weapons, mind-numbing drugs, and even food and water both among themselves and occasionally with guards, although all such trades are severely punished if caught.
Where to Find Magical Components and Poisons
Some of the enslaved bards that tend the camp commanders’ drug production facilities are rumored to have access to some magical components and poisons.
Dealing with Officials
Most Shtas guards tend to be much more reasonable one on one than in front of other prisoners or guards. Guards are severely flogged for allowing a slave to get away with disobeying them, and the officers and commanders are particularly insistent on being obeyed immediately, without question, at once. Slaves that disobey, question orders, or delay obedience, in front of guards, slaves, or multiple officers, tend to get crucified or skinned alive, in order to set an example. The same fate awaits guards that disobey superior officers, or that attempt to escape.
Leaving South Guard
The Shtas keep their slaves seven years. Slaves that survive seven years without attempting to escape are released. The Shtas actually pay their freed slaves a gold piece on setting them free. Of course, most of the slaves die of exposure, overwork, starvation, or thirst, and never see that gold piece. Slaves that attempt escape, generally start their seven years all over again. Slaves that seem hard to control, are either put to death in some spectacular way, or are transferred to another labor camp, “Camp Zero,” on the Dim Islands east of South Guard. Conditions in Camp Zero are reputedly even worse than those in South Guard, and apparently, no one has ever escaped.

Travelers’ Guide to Kurn
Approaching the City

The farmlands surrounding Kurn are off-limits to travelers; even Kurnans are required to stick to the main road rather than cutting from the scrub plains into the ascending verdant belt. While the ground inclines steadily upwards north of Conak’s Rock, the road to Kurn continues on a level plain, so that by the time they arrive at the gates of Kurn’s trade district, travelers are 120 feet beneath the ground level, so that the walls of Kurn appear 180 feet tall
The City Gates
The Banding Slopes and are off-limits to travelers; even Kurnans are required to stick to the main road rather than cutting from the scrub plains into the ascending verdant belt. The garrison at Conak’s Rock enforces this law on strangers and native Kurnans alike.
Where to Stay
Kurn only allows foreigners (or “drylander” as Kurnans will call you), into the traders’ district. The higher quarters of the city are walled off, and drylanders are rarely allowed access to those parts of the city, and only when accompanied by a templar. The gigantic long tents that you first see on entering the trade district are the least expensive lodging in Kurn. The downside is that you have little privacy, and that you have to endure the aroma of delicious foods that probably cost more than you can afford, unless you are willing to work half the day in exchange.
The better — and more expensive — lodging lies farther away from the Trade Gates.
Where to Board your Mount
The Teamsters’ Clave will offer to take your mounts from you at the city gates and stable them. Accept this offer, since if you refuse it, and your mounts trample on or eat anyone in the city, you are considered responsible, and may end up enslaved. Once the Teamsters take charge of your mounts, they are responsible, and they have an excellent reputation.
Where to Find Something to Eat
For the wealthy, “Burning Ice” has the best reputation. At the other end of the economic scale, Kurnan nobles feed their day laborers as well as paying them.
Where to Shop
It’s called the trade district for a reason. There’s very little here other than shops, inns, taverns, government buildings, and entertainment.
Where to Find Magical Components
Whereas in other cities templars kill you for possession of magical components, in Kurn the Grey Herald templars sell spell components to you at reasonable prices. The Grey Heralds have a legal monopoly on magical components and some other magic items.
Where to Get Tattoos and Poisons
The Barbers’ clave, mostly elves and half-elves, can put you in touch with tatooers and also with persons who sell black market goods.
Where to Find Poisons
Unless you are talking to an elven barber (who reputedly are discrete with their loyal customers) make sure to specifically ask for “venoms,” rather than poisons. Bringing ingested, contact, or inhaled poison into Kurn, even the Trade District, without permission from the Templars. There are exceptions, such as for Ranike poison, which only affects insects such as Kreen.
If an elf tribe is visiting the area, then they will probably have some poisons to sell, outside Kurn’s gates
Where to Find Work
Day laborers need only follow the crowd at dawn. They say that it’s easier find day labor than to find someone who would accept you as a slave.
If you are seeking mercenary work, the pickings are slimmer. Inquire with the agents of the various merchant houses in Kurn. While only House Tsalaxa and Azeth make regular caravans to Kurn, several smaller houses have emporiums in Kurn, and pay House Azeth to carry their goods in the Great Caravan. Azeth seems to only hire Kurnans from Kurn.
If you come bearing books or maps, then make your way to the Great Library, at the northwest edge of the Trade District. If the scholars have not seen your book before, and if it interests them, they might offer to buy it, or pay you to borrow the book while they transcribe it. Kurnans in the library are generally friendlier than anyone you’ll meet elsewhere, more interested in discussing your travels. The more friends you make in the library, the greater chance you have of gaining access to the more private collections. Additionally, you have a chance to make impressions on some of the more educated persons in the city, and it’s possible that you might make connections to gain employment. Purportedly, some library scholars make occasional visits to ancient ruins, and may need protection.
Where to Get Healed
The Trade district contains shrines to Earth, Air, and Water.
Dealing with Officials
Deal politely with the Grey Heralds. Although the Grey Heralds enforce an outrageous tax and an invasive search at the city gates, they are very popular with Kurnan citizens, and if you’re rude or belligerent to the heralds, you may find yourself in a fight, or find shop doors shut in your face. Don’t bother bribing them – they just pocket the bribe and do nothing for you.
There are other kinds of templars and officials in Kurn, but they won’t deal with foreigners, and will be offended if you try to speak to them.
Local Customs
Don’t bring your slaves into Kurn. While Kurn has slavery, a master has no right to compel a slave to do anything. Kurnan slaves work for a set period of years and get paid afterwards.
Kurn has no gladiator games, but there are some blood sports that involve citizens fighting against animals. Citizens play in a number of somewhat violent but amusing games such as “stilt-boxing” and “scorpion wives,” while teams of children play complex and rather dangerous looking games such as as Wasp relays, and “Running bird,” a bizarre game that involves three teams, two catapults, two spears, and seventy two medium-sized birds.
Watch your gear. Some sorts of theft are unpunished in Kurn, and killing a thief is a crime.
Don’t be careless with magic or psionics. Kurnans believe that with respect to supernatural powers, that “incompetence is no excuse for the law.” If your spells or powers harm someone, the templars will presume that you did it on purpose.


Oct 03, 2006 22:45:28
LoL! Looks like my direct PDF solution probably won't work! It's only lost some of the texture, but it takes about 2 minutes to draw and refresh, and it's 169 megs!


Oct 04, 2006 9:24:07
LoL! Looks like my direct PDF solution probably won't work! It's only lost some of the texture, but it takes about 2 minutes to draw and refresh, and it's 169 megs!

Yeah. welcome to my little corner of insanity.