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The Great Northway Landsby Matthew Fleet from Threshold Magazine issue 18
[Map: Orc’s Head Peninsula and Great Northways Lands]
The Great Northway Lands are those that lie immediately north of the Western half of the Savage Coast. In broad terms, this area represents the lands just south of the town of Richland, stretching all the way up to the top of the Yalu Bay and about 400-500 miles beyond. Most of this land is either grassland or dry and rocky desert; however, forests do grow around some of the larger rivers that flow through this region. Few civilised humans live in this inhospitable area, and those that do are mostly located within a small number of hardy settlements. However, a greater number of humans (and various humanoids) live a tribal or nomadic existence on the vast grassy plains that exist in this region.
Parts of the Great Northway Lands were initially detailed in the D&D Expert module X9: 'The Savage Coast' . This was followed by an adventure published in Dungeon magazine issues #6-7 titled 'Tortles of the Purple Sage', which covered these lands in more depth. Several years later, the ‘Red Steel’ AD&D 2e campaign setting briefly touched on this area, as did the ‘Champions of Mystara’ D&D boxed set. These source materials are all now out of print but pdf versions of several of them can be bought at DriveThruRPG.com.
Furthermore, there is an issue with the neighbouring Savage Coast setting in that the later works are significantly different from the earlier works in a number of areas. They detail a much more complex political and social environment, and so it is generally considered by many of those familiar with these sources that the 'The Savage Coast' D&D Expert module took place around 500-550AC, before many of the now established kingdoms on the Savage Coast were founded. Furthermore the 'Tortles of the Purple Sage' adventure is now assumed to be set around 800AC, for similar reasons. I have therefore taken this approach when presenting this article. For reference, this article is set during the year 1000AC.
The official sources sometimes created more questions than answers, and so there are a number of details about the Great Northway Lands that were never fully explained. I have therefore taken some ideas from other fan works to address some of these questions, and in some instances, have attempted to fill in the gaps myself. My thanks therefore go to a number of individuals whose works have greatly helped me in writing this article. My thanks also go to both Merle and Jackie Rasmussen, whose writings created this region initially and from which all the other works on the Great Northway Lands have followed.
My aim is to pull together the various sources, taking into account the differing timeframes, to create a workable campaign setting that is consistent with all of the official material. It is also my aim to detail the type of campaign setting that the official sources were trying to present for the Great Northway Lands. This was to me, a vast wilderness and dangerous frontier region, where civilisation was mainly limited to a few settlements around the coast and on some of the larger rivers.
The map I have presented for the region shows the Great Northway Lands, as well as the Orcs Head peninsula and the Western part of the Savage Coast. However, the latter two regions are only presented to help the reader to visualise the exact location of the Great Northway Lands. I will only be referring to the Savage Coast and the Orc’s Head peninsula in passing within this article, as these regions have already been extensively covered by official canon material.
I have reconstructed this area on the map using the original illustrations for the region. However, a number of geographical features were described in the 'Tortles of the Purple Sage' adventure which were not given a placement on the original maps. I have therefore given a placement for these additional geographical features for completeness.
Some fan works show this region to be quite heavily populated with numerous cities and towns, as well as several established dominions. However, for the most part, I have decided to only show the settlements which were detailed or mentioned in official sources (with only a few exceptions). I have taken this approach in order to preserve the flavour of the original setting, although any Dungeon Master is of course free to add whatever additional settlements they see fit to suit their own campaign.
Hopefully, you are now prepared. Meet new and exotic races, or search long abandoned temples and burial chambers for ancient treasures; join one of a number of rival factions vying for power in the vast grasslands, or help a tribe that is discovering their long lost civilisation. Travel thousands of miles through teleportation portals, or travel even further by the grace of an ancient goddess; accumulate great wealth as a merchant on the sea trade routes, or by trading in exotic wares in the towns. Face pirates, pagans, shadowy clerics, dragons, hydra and many more creatures. Onward, brave adventurer, as all of this, and much more, can be achieved in the Great Northway Lands...
What People Say About the Great Northway Lands
"When my ancestors moved to this city centuries ago, there were rumours of dangerous natives living in the Great Northway Lands who used nuggets made of gold to weigh down their fishing nets. Many thought that was all a lot of old nonsense, but some of it turned out to be true. There were indeed dangerous natives using fishing nets in the region; it's just they didn't use or own any golden nuggets."
Vladimir Rostov, the owner of the Hogs Head tavern in Slagovich (an independent city far to the east of the Great Northway Lands)
"I sometimes used to think about reclaiming hidden treasures from ancient Dravish ruins located in the Great Northway Lands. I thought about avoiding dragons and giant spiders on the way there, disarming traps and defeating undead horrors whilst in the ruins, and then navigating several hundred miles back to safety past hordes of orcs and hobgoblins. What a glorious adventure that would be!
I never went through with it though. It's far safer just to loot valuables from a merchant's house in the local trader's quarter instead."
Gallagher the Sly, a burglar living in the free city of Dunwick
"Many people have gone to the Great Northway Lands over the years in search for gold, or to look for hidden treasure. I know this because both prospectors and adventurers alike sometimes book passage on our ships in order to travel there. Some independent merchants also travel occasionally to the Great Northway Lands in order to establish new trade routes.
But know this - for every person who comes back with a pouch of gold nuggets or a valuable trinket, another will never return. Some of those who went missing were merchants or adventurers, laden with many valuables. So I ask you, do these lands actually give up their wealth, or do others merely give up their wealth to these lands?"
Master Torgny of Richland, merchant of the LB Trading Company
Races of the Great Northway Lands
There are a number of non-human races prevalent in these lands that are not common in other parts of Mystara (with the exception of the Savage Coast) which give this area its unique flavour. These races were introduced and described in various official sources released for the Savage Coast itself. However, I will now give a brief description of these new races for those readers who do not have those source materials on hand.
Once the reader is familiar with these races, then the other sections following will make more sense, so it is recommended that this section is read before the others (unless of course the reader is already familiar with these new creatures!).
Please note that the game statistics for these creatures are given in the adventuring section at the end of this article. The descriptions below have also been taken in part from the official supplement DMR2 Creature Catalogue1, for the sake of convenience. Any credit for these creatures therefore belongs to the original authors.
Caption: Nithian depiction of a rakasta
The rakasta are a race of intelligent catlike humanoids who walk upright much like humans, but are covered with tawny fur and have tails and feline heads.
They are proud and fierce fighters who often employ special iron 'war claws' fitted over their natural ones in combat. Furthermore, their strongest warriors often ride either sabre-tooth tigers or feliquines as mounts. These mounts are controlled in a similar way to horses and the riding saddles used have been designed to avoid restricting the mount’s fighting abilities. These saddles also allow the rakasta to leap up to twenty feet from their mounts during a charge and attack an opponent in the same round. These 'tame' sabre-tooth tigers and feliquines are usually too fierce to be ridden by any creature other than a rakasta.
Rakasta appreciate fine art and often their treasure is often in the form of tapestries rugs, vases and even paintings.. They also have keen senses, and can detect invisible creatures within 10 feet. They are also have great awareness and are only surprised on a 1 on a d6 (as opposed to a 1-2).
Rakasta are usually nomadic in nature, but have founded the Kingdom of Bellayne on the Savage Coast as a permanent dominion. Many there are not nomadic at all, although some tribes do still live a nomadic existence just north of the border. The settled rakasta view their nomadic cousins as somewhat backward, whilst the nomadic tribes view the 'settled folk' as weak and snobbish. None of these rakasta are in contact with the Neutral Alliance, as many hostile goblin and hobgoblin tribes inhabit the Yazak Steppes in between, making contact almost impossible.
Sabre-tooth tigers do not live on the Savage Coast, so the best warriors of Bellayne ride land striders instead, whilst the nomadic tribes nearby ride feliquines. Some rakasta of the Neutral Alliance ride sabre-tooth tigers, however, since these tigers still inhabit the northern parts of the Yazak Steppes as well as parts of the Bylot Hills.
Caption: Lupin fighting a man
Lupins are furry bipedal humanoids with doglike heads. In the past, they have sometimes been mistaken for werewolves, but they are not related to them in any way. In fact, lupins hate werewolves and will often attack them on sight (and can recognise werewolves even when they are in human form).
In battle, lupins sometimes employ a cavalry charge using lances and trained dire wolves . When fighting werewolves, lupins use both silver weaponry and wolfsbane , as they are well aware of the weaknesses of lycanthropes
Historically, lupins have been nomadic, but quite unusually, they have formed their own dominion on the Savage Coast which is known as the Kingdom of Renardy. Here they keep the various goblinoid tribes from the Yazak Steppes at bay, and have also managed to secure a settled and safe area for themselves.
Many nomadic lupins living in the Great Northway Lands have allied themselves with the Lawful Brotherhood and numerous tortles to form the Lawful Alliance. More details about this group is given in the Factions of the Great Northway section below. In the Great Northway lands, the lupins and rakasta do not get along at all, and will often engage in hostilities. This is in contrast to the Kingdoms of Bellayne and Renardy on the Savage Coast, where there is only a mild distrust of each other.
Caption: Ancient Oltec depiction of an Aranea
Aranea are an intelligent giant spider race. Their bodies are approximately four foot long and two feet wide, while their legs are each about 4 foot long. An aranea is therefore about 10 feet across from tip to tip. They are usually greenish brown in colour, although some colour variations do exist. An aranea can be distinguished from other giant spiders by the massive odd shaped lump on its back that houses its large brain. Aranea are webspinners and their bite is poisonous, although they prefer to employ spellcasting in combat, if possible., as most can cast mage spells
In addition to their eight legs, aranea have two front limbs which are divided into five flexible digits at the end of each limb. The aranea use these to grasp prey, to manipulate tools and to cast spells. Most aranea involve themselves in magical research, and some are capable of creating magical items
The Kingdom of Herath is predominantly inhabited by aranea. However, the aranea in this kingdom use shapeshifting magic to hide their true nature. They have also trained themselves to adopt human identities to the point that they cannot be detected as being aranea when in human form. This is the case even when others are using most types of detection magic. This deception has proven to be extremely successful, as almost everyone living in the Savage coast and the Great Northway Lands believe Herath to be a human kingdom, with only a few dangerous aranea hidden in their midst. Obviously when an aranea is actually spotted by outsiders, the Herathians will always claim that it must be one of the few aranea that are known to be hiding in their nation.
The aranea living in the Great Northway Lands are not as sophisticated as those living in Herath, and do not have any shapechanging abilities. In fact, some live quite a primitive lifestyle and do not have any spell casting abilities at all. Their preferred habitat is forested lands, although some aranea live in the Yazak Steppes in underground burrows. Here, they dig out small pits with webbing at the bottom to catch their prey. They will usually place a trapdoor at the top of the pit as well to conceal it from unwary travellers. This trapdoor will give away when stood upon and will plunge the victim into the web below.
Aranea tend to look down on other races as less intelligent and of little worth, which has led to some highly questionable magical experiments being conducted in Herath in the past. Aranea also tend to be quite self-centred, which has caused some of those living near the Dravya ruins to happily join the Chaotic Alliance (this group is described later on in this article). In short, the aranea's sinister reputation is not entirely undeserved.
Caption: Wallaran depiction of a tortle or a snapper
Tortles are turtle-like humanoids, but always live on land as opposed to the sea. A fully grown tortle stands about 6 feet tall and weighs about 500 pounds. Tortles can hold their breath for up to 15 minutes underwater although they are not fast swimmers.
Tortles do not wear armour but can withdraw into their shells for protection. They can attack with their claws and beaks but sometimes employ weapons instead; the crossbow and staff are the most common choices.
Tortles are often found living on the fringes of various societies along the Savage Coast and around the Yalu Bay, often as farmers or labourers. They never have much ambition and are quite happy to spend their time tilling the land or living as fishermen in sandy areas near the coast. Tortles usually only fight in self defence, and so almost never start conflicts with other races. They have a well earned reputation as being honest and reliable, which on occasion, has been taken advantage of by other races. Tortles get on particularly well with Lupins, and have worked with them on occasion when there has been a common goal.
Tortles normally live alone or in small groups for most of their lives (although some tortle villages do exist). They can also be found in small enclaves in a number of human towns and cities. They normally live for around 50 years, and only lay eggs towards the end of their lives. They often choose to lay their eggs in historic egg laying grounds that have a special significance to them. They have been known to travel several hundred miles in order to do this.
The shells of twenty five tortle eggs can be used by skilled armourers to create a suit of light weight and very durable plate mail armour (which gives an armour class of 1). The tortles are aware of this, and so sometimes gift adventurers with their egg shells if they have performed a notable service for the tortles.
Snappers are humanoid and reptilian salt water dwellers whose backs are protected by shells (like the tortles). Adult snappers stand about 6 feet tall and weigh about 1,000 pounds (they are much stockier than tortles). Using their webbed hands and feet, they are swift swimmers and can hold their breath for more than ten minutes before needing to surface for air.
Unlike tortles, snappers cannot retreat into their shells. They are also bad tempered, and will attack others with very little provocation, using either weapons or their their claws and beaks. Most snappers also use longbows for ranged combat when on land, and in fact often prefer to do so.
Snappers are not sociable creatures, even when amongst each other. They do not form closely knit tribes, have no recognisable leaders, and do not form their own settlements. Instead, they prefer to search the oceans for food in small hunting groups.
While mating, snappers tend to gather at special egg laying grounds. These grounds often take the form of rock-walled and roofless labyrinths just above the tide line. Snappers defend these places fiercely, attacking anyone who dares to come near them.
Due to their aggressive nature, snappers are considered a menace on most parts of the Savage Coast and are driven out whenever they appear. Therefore, at the current time, snappers are only found along the coasts of the Orc’s Head Peninsula and on parts of the Yalu Bay coastline. Some snappers near Mudwater Cove have joined the Chaotic Alliance, and are sometimes employed as aquatic troops by the Chaotic Sisterhood.
History as the Locals Know It
The first humans known to settle the Great Northway Lands were the Oltecs, around 4,000 BC. However, they migrated only to the eastern portion of these lands, and never reached all of the way to the Yalu Bay. These Oltecs were a coppery-skinned race who brought arts, agriculture and basic metalworking to the region. The Oltecs never built cities, which suggests that they lived a semi-nomadic lifestyle. They did however build some ceremonial edifices for unknown reasons, as well as burial crypts for their deceased monarchs. The ceremonial buildings were normally built as stone pyramids, whilst the crypts were usually either underground tombs or burial mounds made out of earth. Very few of these constructions survive to this day.
The next people to settle in these lands were the Dravs (a.k.a the Dravish or Dravya). They initially came from the north for reasons known only to themselves and settled in the Great Northway Lands around 2,300 BC. The Dravs had an affinity for magic, and a significant minority of them were able to cast spells, which gave them an edge in battles against their enemies. These people were also distantly related to the Oltecs who had arrived in this region previously.
Upon arriving, the Dravs allied themselves with the tortles who were indigenous to this area, and these tortles were eventually absorbed into part of the Dravish civilisation itself. It was around this time that the cities of Yazak, Dravya and Bylot were built. A number of statues were erected in these cities, many of which represented Dravish generals who had been successful in historic military campaigns.
In the next few centuries, the Dravs slowly expanded their civilisation south; around 2,000 BC, they finally encountered the aranea on the western Savage Coast. This initial contact did not go well, and the aranea became concerned that they could end up being drawn into a protracted conflict with the Dravs. It was in mainly due to this concern that the aranea developed their shapechanging abilities as well as their own dual identities, in order to avoid detection. This proved to be successful as the Dravs ultimately came to believe that it was a human civilisation that actually dominated the lands now known as Herath, and therefore never invaded the aranea at all.
The Dravish civilisation reached its height from 2,000 BC to around 1,500 BC. It was during this time that they built their most impressive devices - the Portals to Everyland ( see below for more details about these portals). These portals made travel between the cities of Yazak, Dravya and Bylot instantaneous, and were often used by Dravish messengers when information needed to be passed quickly between different cities.
Around 1,400 BC, the Dravish civilisation began to become corrupted. Their previous allies, the tortles, were slowly enslaved, and a new race called snappers were created by the Dravs as soldiers and guards. The snappers were created with a violent streak so they could be effective in these roles and kill without questioning their orders. These snappers in time became the mortal enemies of tortles, and still possess a cruel streak that exists to this day.
At this time, the Dravish began to move away from their previous religious pantheon and towards darker rites. Human sacrifices became common, especially enemy warriors who had been captured during battle. Some of these sacrificed warriors were actually Dravs, who had tried to fight against their own civilisation's shift towards entropy.
It was around 1,300 BC that the Dravish civilisation began to experience a number of serious setbacks which ultimately lead to its destruction. Firstly, a huge earthquake hit the Great Northway Lands, destroying a few Dravish cities around Mudwater Cove and the Yalu Bay. This earthquake also caused the Great Northway River to change its course, and flow into Mudwater Cove, rather than through what is now known as the Empty Valley. This devastated many farms in the region which relied on water from the river for irrigation, and eventually caused serious famine in this area.
Secondly, after the earthquake had struck, humanoid raiders began to take advantage of the weakened state of the Dravish civilisation by organising raids on many of their settlements. These raids slowly weakened the Dravs further over the next few centuries.
Finally, after suffering 200 years of oppression and slavery, the tortles decided that they had had enough. They revolted against their Dravish overlords around 1,200 BC, using elemental magics to destroy the town built around the Monoliths of Zul, as well as a few other settlements. This was the final nail in the coffin for the Dravs, who fled into the Yazak steppes and were never able to reclaim back their civilisation. Over time, many who were not killed by the humanoids in the region reverted back to tribalism and began to live in small clans, and eventually lost all connection to their previous civilisation. Many of the nomads and natives living in the Great Northway Lands in the current era are actually descended from the Dravs. It is this heritage which gives these peoples an affinity to sorcery, and as a consequence, many tribes in this region have wiccas of notable power.
After the fall of the Dravya, the tortles set up their own civilisation which lasted for about two centuries. They rebuilt the town around the Monoliths of Zul and it became their most prominent settlement, the monoliths themselves becoming a symbol holy to them. This was so as it was through these monoliths that the tortles were able to command the elemental magics which ultimately freed them from slavery. Over time though, the tortles began to appreciate that their lot had not always been bad under the Dravs, and their view of that civilisation eventually softened.
Although they were harried by goblinoids about a century afterwards, it is still not clear what led the tortles’ civilisation to subsequently fall. What is clear however, is that the tortles still inhabited this region after their civilisation had ended.
[Image: Oltec ruins]
Caption: Oltec or Dravish ruins
Little changed for the next three hundred years until the Lawful Brotherhood arrived around 500 AC (see below for a description of this organisation). They began to set up small settlements and camps along the savage coast, the Orc’s Head Peninsula, and even one settlement in the Great Northway Lands (where Seaview now lies). Their main motivations were to spread their religion and to accumulate further wealth, as this area was rumoured to be abundant with many gold deposits at that time (this rumour was not completely unfounded). The Pure Gold Merchant Company based in Slagovich also sent expeditions to the Orc’s Head Peninsula and beyond in search of gold nuggets, for the purpose of smelting them into coinage. One of their most famous operatives was a man named Akobaar, a self styled gold merchant. He accumulated much wealth in this trade before he went missing about 500 AC whilst exploring the Orc’s Head Peninsula. Neither his ship nor his rumoured treasure have ever been found.
Shortly afterwards, other settlers from the north began to arrive on the Savage Coast, and formed the dominions of Eusdria, Robrenn, Renardy and Bellayne. They also managed to drive out the goblinoids and orcs living in this area, forever pushing them north into the Yazak Steppes where they live to this day.
Around 700 AC, the Lawful Brotherhood set up a base in the ruins of Yazak in the Great Northway Lands and began converting local human tribes to their faith. They also allied with local tortles and lupins; this alliance became known as the Lawful Alliance. It was also around this time that the Chaotic Sisterhood first became active in this area.
The Neutral Alliance was formed around 750 AC as a response to the expansion of the Lawful Alliance. It managed to succeed in keeping the spread of the Lawful Alliance in check. The Neutral Alliance consisted (and still does) of nomads, natives, rakasta, and pagans. The hostility between the two groups continues on to this day.
Around 790 AC, an ex-pirate and explorer known as Trader Jack set up the outpost of Richland, which quickly became a prominent trading outpost for the Great Northway Lands. Around ten years later, an intrepid band of explorers discovered a village on the Great Northway River. This village became known as Cropland, and it eventually became another trading outpost for this region.
Little has changed in this region over the last two hundred years. The settlements of Richland and Cropland have slowly grown in size over time, and the Lawful Alliance's influence has slowly become greater around the Yazak ruins, as has the Chaotic Sisterhood's influence around the ruins of Dravya.
However, further to the north, in the Northway Steppes, there has been a recent development. In 980 AC, a wicca of notable power by the name of Tilopac discovered an ancient ruin which housed ancient Dravish texts. Also hidden there was a magical ring which enabled its user to read any language. Tilopac used the ring so he could translate the Dravish texts, but to his initial disappointment, these writings did not relate to the use of magic. Instead, the mundane texts he had discovered related to architecture and the building of structures made of stone. He therefore left them and returned to his village, with the ring being his only prize.
A few years later, the settlement he lived in was sacked by a hostile nomadic tribe. It was after this event that the true value of the writings Tilopac had discovered became apparent to him. He returned to the Dravish ruins and came back with all of the tablets he had discovered. Shortly afterwards, his tribe began to quarry stone, and built walls around their village, including towers, by following the instructions on the tablets. They also built some dwellings made of stone in the village itself.
About ten years later, the nomadic raiders returned to sack the village again, but were repelled by archers using the stone wall defences. The raiders suffered a crushing defeat and were routed. This brought Tilopac fame, and natives from surrounding areas soon came to his village to live there under the safety the stone walls provided.
His village has now became a small town, and boasts formidable defences. It has also been named after Tilopac, in recognition of his foresight and wisdom. In the meantime, Tilopac has now learned to read ancient Dravish, as have a small number of other natives under his tutelage. Although much of the ancient Dravish civilisation has been forever lost, this has still been an important development, and only the future will reveal how successful this cultural revival will be.
History as the Immortals Know It
The history of this region, as summarised above and told by those living in these lands, is mainly accurate. However, there are a number of facts that are still unknown to mortals of the Great Northway Lands, which are detailed below.
Unbeknown to all, the tortles were created by Immortals in the very distant past to help them sculpt the landscape of the planet (this is unknown even to the tortles themselves). The tortles were effectively created as construction workers, and were given powers relating to the elements of earth and water. This enabled them to control and modify the land and sea, saving Immortals from having to use their own power. The more tortles, the more elemental power they had. The idea was that the Immortals would use them as a pool of manual labour to move mountains around, change rivers, and pull in soil or water from the elemental planes, in order to shape the lands before many of the other races had come into existence. However, after some time, the Immortals moved on to other more important affairs, leaving behind the tortles with no further instructions. Without a sense of purpose and not being designed to compete against other races, the kind and peaceful tortles began to stagnate and adopted a more primitive and sedate lifestyle, building little more than small earthen mounds to lay their eggs in.
When the Oltecs, and later , the Dravish arrived, the tortles were peaceful towards them, and this was reciprocated. Due to their nature and purpose, the tortles lacked all ambition, and so many were eventually absorbed into these human cultures to work as labourers and farmers on the fringes of civilised society.
However, around 1,400 BC, the entropic immortal Atzanteotl became aware of the Dravs, and was struck by the similarities between some of their architecture and that of the Azcans, whom he had lived among in the Hollow World a few centuries before. This caused him to take an interest in the Dravs, and over time, he managed to corrupt some of them to his own philosophy. These corrupted individuals began to worship Atzanteotl instead of their previous pantheon, mainly due to his promises of great magical power. This weakened the Dravish Empire over time, as minor civil wars erupted between those who followed Atzanteotl and those who did not. At this time, human sacrifices became common, as captured warriors were sacrificed to the honour of Atzanteotl in his temples. The treatment of tortles and slaves in the Dravish Empire also worsened during this time.
By 1,200 BC, the Dravish Empire had significantly diminished in power. However, a few towns and cities remained, the most notable being the one situated around the Monoliths of Zul. It was at this time that one of the Immortals who had created the tortles thousands of years before noticed the treatment they were receiving under the Dravs, and was greatly angered. He therefore revealed to the tortles the knowledge they had forgotten regarding the workings of elemental magic. Channelling these magics through the monoliths (which is what they had been built for many millennia ago), they managed to destroy the surrounding Dravish town and a few other settlements, which drove the survivors out northwards to the Yazak Steppes.
The tortles regrouped and formed their own civilisation for about two hundred years, but slowly the knowledge of the elemental magics became lost to them once again. Their lack of ambition and pursuit of knowledge meant that their civilisation slowly waned, and eventually disappeared completely, save some ruins scattered around the Savage Coast and the Great Northway Lands.
The Immortals once followed by the Dravs were angered that so many of their previous worshippers had allowed themselves to be so easily corrupted by Atzanteotl. Thus, theyturned their back on the Dravs completely, and as a result, this civilisation was never preserved in either the Hollow World or in the Hollow Moon. Atzanteotl quickly lost interest with the Dravish civilisation when its power began to wane, and so he made no attempt to preserve it either.
Since the fall of the Dravish Empire, there has been almost no meddling in this region by the Immortals. Therefore, the history of this region from about 1,000 BC to the current period is pretty much how the mortals of the region tell it.
There are a number of distinct geographical features within this region, which are described below. These are also shown on the map presented for this region.
These rocky mountainous isles resemble the tips of a huge underwater three pronged spear. No humans live on these isles, but an orc village is known to exist on the largest isle of the group.
The orc village itself is very well defended, as it is surrounded by a wooden palisade and has a few resident ogres as well as a troll. Small groups of these creatures also live on the island and are sometimes hired as guards by the orcs.
Although no humanoids are known to live on the two smaller isles, other dangerous creatures may very well lurk there instead (indeed, a few sightings of wyverns in this area have been made in recent times). There are also rumours which claim that a band of pirates once hid their treasure on one of the islands, but came to an unfortunate end before they could return to reclaim it. If these rumours are true, then this treasure may still be there today, waiting for a band of adventurers to reclaim it. What is also known is that pirates sometimes use these islands as a temporary base, either to lie low or to lie in wait for a poorly defended merchant vessel to pass by.
[Image: Trident Isles]
Caption: Rocky coast of the Trident Isles
This sheltered body of salt water lies north of the Orc’s Head Peninsula. Dangerous reefs exist here which could sink a vessel and its crew if they are unfamiliar with their location.
These waters are very deep in parts, and hide many underwater caves. As a consequence, a number of giant sea serpents and a few sea dragons make their home in this region, making seafaring travel even more dangerous than what would otherwise be the case. This is also true for other parts of the Yalu Bay (a.k.a. the Savage Gulf).
Tall Grass Coast
A narrow layer of rich, dark topsoil nourishes tall grasses along the southern part of this coastline, which makes this area excellent for farming (and is partially why the town of Richland was founded in this region). The quality of the soil decreases further north however, and some parts of the coastline north of Richland are actually very sandy and dry.
Winds from the Yalu Bay whip across the coast, especially during the winter months, and the lack of trees and other cover can make it quite chilly during the coldest parts of the year.
This huge, 150' deep rift valley contains little soil and fresh water and almost no plant or animal life. The Empty Valley once held the Great Northway River, but an ancient earthquake changed the river's course. The Empty Valley, which shows signs of geological upheaval, now scars the Yazak Steppes. Flash floods can occasionally happen in this region, causing rivers of brown and muddy water to flow over the canyon walls and into the valley below.
Water flows through the main canyon for hundreds of miles, making part of it navigable by boat when travelling from the Yalu Bay. However, there is very little reason to do so. The northern part of this valley is particularly dangerous as the Chaotic Sisterhood's main base is located in the ruins which were once the ancient city of Dravya (see further down in this article for a description of this group). This base is well defended by various types of humanoids and should be avoided by all but the most hardy of adventurers.
The Great Northway River
This wide and powerful river empties into the northern part of the Yalu Bay. It is navigable by boat until the Great Northway Waterfall is reached, which is approximately 240 miles inland. The waterfall itself is over a mile wide and approximately 150 feet tall. The few adventurers who have managed to explore this area have all attested to the breathtakingly stunning views of the white water plunging over the high moss-green cliffs, as well as the rainbow mists at the waterfall's base.
Parts of this river are plagued by giant dragonflies and other large insects, so care should be taken when travelling this region. Furthermore, large masses of vegetation sometimes break free from the riverbank, causing a hazard to any boats travelling in these waters.
Mud Water Cove
This area lies at the far northern end of the Yalu Bay. The cool, muddy brown water is shallower and less salty than the surrounding waters to the south. In some areas, the water is even clean enough to drink, although its colour would make most people think twice before doing so.
This is also where the region where the Great Northway River flows out into the Yalu Bay.
This vast, semi-arid grass covered plain lies north of the entire Savage Coast and is veined with tree-lined streams, separated by low-lying rolling hills. Large herds of migrating animals move across the land, grazing on the shrubs and grasses, and are stalked by the occasional predator.
Ancient ruins, burial grounds and temples are scattered throughout various parts of the Yazak Steppes, both Dravish and Oltec. Some hold valuable treasures which are waiting to be claimed by brave adventurers willing to face the traps and monsters guarding them. Various earth and stone mounds are also located in different parts of these grasslands as well. These hold religious significance to some of the human tribes living in this region, as well as to various tortle tribes.
[Image: Bisons in the Yazak steppes]
Caption: Bisons in the Yazak steppes
Humanoids (mainly goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears, orcs and ogres) dominate the southern parts of the Yazak Steppes, and are split up into different tribes, such as the Hupkur and the Huptai. However, as one moves further north, these humanoids become far less numerous. Instead, explorers will mainly find nomadic human tribes, as well as the lupin and rakasta (it is from the latter two that the residents of both Bellayne and Renardy on the Savage Coast are descended). There are also numerous native villages spread out over the Yazak Steppes. Only those actually mentioned in the official sources are shown on the map; the placement of the others are up to the Game Master.
Humans, rakasta and lupins were pushed out of the southern parts of the Yazak Steppes many centuries ago by the various humanoid tribes, but have managed to retain their territories further to the north. Some on the Savage Coast mistakenly believe that no rakasta or lupins exist north of the Savage Coast itself, but this is only true for the southern parts of the Yazak Steppes. However, no known contact exists between the Savage Coast dominions and the nomadic rakasta, lupins and humans far to the north, as the numerous hordes of humanoids in between make such contact almost impossible.
A catlike humanoid race, called the kzinti2, also lives in the Yazak Steppes. They look similar to rakasta, but are much larger, standing about 8 feet tall. They are extremely warlike, and often raid other surrounding races (and even each other) to prove their superior combat skills. Fortunately, their tribal territories in the Great Northway Lands are confined to just one large area north of the Kingdom of Bellayne. Most of their raids are on the neighbouring Hupkur goblinoids to the south, so the Kzinti rarely interfere in human affairs at present. Unlike the rakasta, the kzinti rarely ride mounts.
The grasslands around the Dravya ruins and directly east of Mudwater cove are also very dangerous, as many of the natives are cannibals. Fortunately, this danger is well-known, and so these lands are given a wide berth by most.
As well as standard creatures, the Yazak Steppes are also home to a variety of carnivorous plants. These make the journeying across the grasslands even more dangerous than what would otherwise be the case, as the danger is not always evident until it is too late. Terrifying storms also lash this region at various times of the year, including tornados and electrical storms. Bush fires also occur sporadically during the summer months, which can cause otherwise docile herd animals to panic, trampling anyone nearby underfoot.
The Yazak Steppes contain the only known goblinoid town in the region, which is called Plaktur (the goblinoids are almost always nomadic, and usually reside in camps instead). No humans living on the Savage Coast are known to have seen this town, but it is still thought to exist as several captured goblins have referred to it on different occasions. Perhaps a band of adventurers might one day attempt to find and loot this location of its treasures...
The Yazak Steppes are referred to as the 'Dravish steppes' by the people of Hule (this theocracy is not shown on the map as it is located far to the east of the Great Northway Lands). Elsewhere, on the Savage Coast, the name 'Yazak Steppes' would apply to the grasslands that stretch as far north as Mudwater Cove. The grasslands north of this are usually referred to as the 'Dravish Steppes', whilst those as far north as the Great Waterfall are simply called 'the Grass Plains'. Finally, the grasslands that are further north than the lowest split in the Great Northway River are referred to as 'the Northway Steppes'. Very few people from the Savage Coast have travelled to either the Grass Plains or the Northway Steppes, and so very little is known about these lands.
This large plateau lies in the south western part of the Yazak Steppes. The top of the plateau is quite picturesque, with a large lake and waterfall. A large purple lotus flowers grow in abundance in this area, and add to the scenic view. This plant is a distant relative of the notorious amber lotus flower, but its pollen is not harmful to humans.
Unfortunately, Hupkur goblin tribes are quite numerous in this area, and have a large camp by the lake. These goblins are subject to frequent raids from the Kzinti, so they are usually alert and well-armed.
Some ancient Dravish ruins lie just to the south of the Plateau. These are considered to be both cursed and haunted by the humanoid tribes living in this region, so they give these ruins a wide berth.
Rain rarely falls on this arid wasteland. Dry flatlands separated by the occasional rocky canyon stretch further than the eye can see, little plant or animal life can survive here.
The most notable location in these hostile lands is a sacred tortle egg laying ground, hidden within the only area that contains sandy, as opposed to rocky, desert. Tortle folklore has it that any offspring hatched here after a holy pilgrimage will be blessed with good health. This pilgrimage is performed once every hundred years by ancient tradition, and many tortles are prepared to risk their lives in order to lay eggs here when the time approaches. Adventurers are sometimes hired by the tortles to protect them during this pilgrimage. This egg laying ground is surrounded by ancient stones and any tortle sage would therefore recognise it on sight.
A rocky trail, known only to some nomadic tribes, is the safest route across these inhospitable lands. This trail follows through a number of the canyons where the high rocky walls give some respite from the relentless sun. A few shrubs and small game can also be found here, unlike most other parts of the dry flats. Some nomadic tribes use this route for their seasonal migrations. They often spend the summer in the Yazak Steppes before returning to the Bylot Hills for the winter.
The best course of action for an adventuring party that wishes to cross the Dry Flats would be to hire a nomadic guide to lead them through the rocky trail. Without a guide, getting lost would be a likely and serious danger - particularly so, as foraging in this region is very difficult due to the scarcity of edible plants and wild game.
A small number of red dragons live in the Dry Flats, as do numerous flying hydrae. Both the dragons and hydrae tend to make their homes in rocky caves found in the canyons, and are extremely dangerous and aggressive. However, these creatures do tend to hunt away from their lairs in the nearby Yazak Steppes where game is more common, and so they aren't encountered very often in the Flats unless someone is unlucky enough to wander near to one of their lairs when they are present.
There are also rumours of a very rare breed of flying hydrae, which have red scales (as opposed to green or brown) and can also breathe fire, living in the Dry Flats. One man who claimed to have seen such a creature was a renowned nomadic warrior who was not known for fanciful tales, and due to this, some believe these creatures do, in fact, exist.
[Image: Dry Flats and Bylot Hills]
Caption: Dry Flats and Bylot Hills
These hot, dry hills are covered with dense thickets of shrubs and small trees. The rugged terrain is also pockmarked with caves and burrows. Some of these caves are rich in minerals and gemstones, and would prove to be profitable if explored by any intrepid miners.
The only widely known settlement in these hills is situated around the Dravish ruins called Bylot ( from which the hills derive their name). This settlement is mainly inhabited by rakasta and nomads, and is the main base for the Neutral Alliance (see below for a description of this group). The rakasta inhabit this area permanently, whilst most of the nomads reside here only during the winter months, before moving to the Yazak Steppes during the summer. A few pagan tribes, who worship the forces of nature, also inhabit this area, and are on good terms with both the rakasta and the nomads.
There are also a number of smaller settlements and camps spread out over the Bylot Hills. Many are inhabited by humans, who have fled from the oppressive theocracy that rules Hule to the east. Despite the fact that these individuals are often labelled as either outlaws or bandits by Hulean agents, most are of either Lawful or Neutral alignment, and merely seek to live a life of freedom away from the oppression of Hosadus, Hule's current ruler (see module X5 for more about this individual).
The Endworld Desert
This large rocky desert is even more inhospitable than the Dry Flats to the east and offers little respite from the sun.
The Endworld Line mountain range which lies to the west of the map (and which have also given this desert its name) forms a very high and almost impassable barrier to the ocean beyond. These mountains prevent most of the ocean's precipitation from reaching this area. This in turn has caused a rocky desert to form in this region. Hardly anyone from the Savage Coast has visited these lands due to the hostile environment and also due to the long distance from the Savage Coast itself.
To the south of this desert lies the Western Dravish Steppes. This area is lightly populated by several human tribes, who live a nomadic existence in this area. There is also an abundance of game to be found in these grasslands.
This town is the main settlement found within the Great Northway Lands. It was founded as a trading post around 790 AC by a man known as Trader Jack. Whether he was ever actually a simple trader is a matter of great speculation.
This town is populated by an exotic mixture of merchants, daring adventurers, artistic craftsmen, dusty prospectors, natives, clerics, amiable tortles, and even a few lizardfolk from the Kingdom of Shazak. In the town market lies a stone statue of its founder, Trader Jack, raising both a sword and flagon of ale into the air.
Richland is much larger now than when it was founded just over two centuries ago, and has around 2,300 residents. Located far from the more civilised lands, Richland is largely self-sufficient as far as the production of food, weapons, and other necessities are concerned. The LB Trading Company (see below for details of this organisation) owns most of Richland, and uses Richland as a gathering place for exotic ingredients found around the Yalu Bay region. These goods are then transported to the Savage Coast nations for sale.
On top of a small artificial hill on the northern side of town sits a fort, which is the residency of the current ruler, Lord Randall. He is descended directly from Trader Jack, and is technically responsible for the city's defence. However, in reality, the LB Trading Company has just as many guards on their payroll in this town as Lord Randall does. These guards are paid primarily to look after the LB Trading Company's own mercantile interests, but would come to the town's defence if it were actually attacked. Lord Randall is a hedonistic individual who is far more interested in earthly pleasures than actually ruling his dominion. This suits the LB Trading Company, as it means he never scrutinizes some of their more questionable trading practices in Richland.
The Lawful Brotherhood also has a monastery in the centre of Richland. This monastery is well-fortified and is one of the oldest buildings in the town. From there, they secretly arrange for weapons and other supplies to be sent to their brothers who are stationed in the Yazak ruins. They get along well with the LB Trading Company as a whole, and tolerate Lord Randall, as he rarely interferes with their own business. The monastery does not want outsiders to be aware of the Lawful Brotherhood's conversions of natives around the Yazak ruins or the monastery's aid in this process, and so will purposefully avoid discussing this topic whenever possible. This monastery also deals with the clerical requirements of the town.
Richland is the jumping off point for expeditions into the vast surrounding wilderness. Guides can be hired here, as well as boats to travel further up the coast. This town is also used as a sanctuary for those escaping the Red Curse on the Savage Coast, as these lands are free from that particular affliction.
[Image: Lawful Brotherhood Church]
Caption: Lawful Brotherhood Church
This village was discovered by intrepid explorers around 800 AC whilst exploring the Great Northway River. At that time, it was thought that trade routes could be established along this river all the way up into Central Brun. However, these explorers found to their disappointment that the Great Northway Waterfall prohibits boats from travelling more than a few hundred miles up the river, thus making trade by boat impossible. They also failed to find any civilisation of note, beyond a peaceful village of natives just over 100 miles inland on the western river bank. This village became known in time as Cropland, which was a name similar to what the natives called their settlement in their own tongue.
About 50 years later, the Lawful Brotherhood set up a monastery in this village, which remains there to this day. Eventually, the LB Trading Company set up a trading outpost here as well, which allowed merchants to rest in this region in between trading expeditions. From Cropland, merchants sail to either Richland or Preuve, depending on the route they are taking. These developments have brought some considerable wealth to the villagers of Cropland in recent times. Today, Cropland consists of about 1,000 residents, the overwhelming majority being humans. Most are either natives, clerics of the Lawful Brotherhood or operatives of the LB Trading company. A well-fortified wooden wall surrounds the village, as well as four watchtowers made of stone. The latter were built by the LB Trading company in order to help protect their own wealth and business interests within the town.
The natives of Cropland have lived in this region for many centuries and are peaceful by nature. They are skilful hunters and fishermen, and favour spears and bows as weapons. Most have trained hounds as companions who sometimes accompany the villagers when they hunt for game. These hounds have also earned a good reputation in Richland, and are sometimes purchased as guard dogs by residents of that town.
In Cropland, the position of chief village elder has always been decided by a vote conducted by all of the adult natives living in the village. Once appointed, the chief village elder serves for the rest of his life. Neither the LB Trading Company nor the Lawful Brotherhood ever interfere in this process.
Quite close by to Cropland lie some ancient Dravish ruins. However, the natives of Cropland consider these ruins to be cursed and always avoid them. They will also advise any travellers to do the same.
This was originally a Lawful Brotherhood outpost which was destroyed around 550 AC. In recent times it was rebuilt and now serves as a trading outpost for the LB Trading Company. Its main purpose is to facilitate trade with both the Kingdom of Cay and the Kingdom of Shazak, and currently has a population of about 250 residents.. A small wooden palisade surrounds the village and serves as its main defence. A small path leads down to docks at the nearby river, which are used by merchant ships.
Although events are usually peaceful in this area, it should be noted that Seaview is dangerously close to the gatorman nation of Ator. It is therefore possible that this village could be subject to an attack when the war parties of Ator go forth in number from their homeland to plunder. This tends to happen every ten years or so, when the shamans of Ator decide the population has risen too high to be sustainable. They then order some of the ordinary gatormen to raid nearby areas, knowing that a significant number of them will be killed whilst performing these raids.
Factions of the Great Northway
There are number of groups and factions operating in the Great Northway Lands. These shall now be described below.
The Lawful Brotherhood & the LB Trading Company
The Lawful Brotherhood (which is sometimes referred to as the 'Brotherhood of Order') was founded by followers of Ixion around 400 AC near the area which is now known as the City State of Slagovich. Shortly thereafter, to this banner flocked followers of other Lawful Immortals, such as Tarastia, Thor and Ilsundal. There is also some evidence that the Lawful Brotherhood was the successor of a previous order known as The Way of Law, which dates back a few millennia to the region now known as Hule.
[Image: Lawful Brotherhood Knights]
Caption: Lawful Brotherhood Knights
In the following centuries, the Lawful Brotherhood founded their own Trade Tongue, which became used by all Lawful Brotherhood missionaries, regardless of their national background, as this helped the Brotherhood to maintain its detachment from national interests (this trade language is still used today, and serves as the 'common' tongue in the Savage Coast).
Lawful Brotherhood posts were subsequently established in a few regions of the Savage Coast, namely in modern Bellayne, at the Old Fort in Cimarron, and at Dunwick.
When the Lawful Brotherhood subsequently engaged in a large missionary enterprise in the Gulf of Hule, it established its pantheon using generic names, designed to easily convey the idea of the represented Immortals to the converted people. Names such as the Inquisitor, the Judge, the General, the Ambassador, and the Sun were devised.
The elves and Oltecs of the Savage Coast eventually assumed the pantheon of the Lawful Brotherhood, adding Mealiden, Calitha and Ordana from the elven pantheon, and using the Oltec name for Ixion, Otzitiotl.
As time went on, the Lawful Brotherhood missions evolved towards a more mercantile attitude. This attitude was especially pronounced in the Savage Coast; by 800 AC the Lawful Brotherhood no longer existed there as a strictly monastic or missionary institution, but rather as a thriving trading company, albeit with strong clerical support. The trading organisation became known as the LB Trading Company, and established its headquarters in Cimmaron, on the Savage Coast. However, there were a few distant areas in the far west where this change from a monastic order to a trading company did not occur. Some people on the Savage Coast now believe, quite erroneously, that the Lawful Brotherhood no longer exists as an organisation.
In the current period (1000 AC), the Lawful Brotherhood as it once was only exists in three locations; Richland, Cropland, and in and around the Dravish Ruins of Yazak in the Yazak Steppes (see below for more information about the Dravya). In the latter area, the Lawful Brotherhood has been very active in the last few centuries, teaching the nomads and the pagans in the area about Ixion and the other immortals they revere. This has resulted in many conversions over the years. These new converts, have for the most part, become quite zealous in their new faith, which in turn has resulted in them allying together and attempting to conquer and convert neighbouring tribes. This has resulted in the Neutral Alliance (see below) being formed, where rakasta, pagan and nomadic tribes have banded together to stop these conquests from taking place. The converted tribesmen of the Yazak Steppes are often referred to as "dervishes" by other groups.
The LB Trading Company is still a very successful mercantile trading organisation, particularly along the Savage Coast. As far as the Great Northway Lands are concerned, it owns much of the property in the town of Richland, and also has a fortified base in the town of Cropland. Little trade passes through this area which is not related, either directly or indirectly, to the LB Trading Company.
In recent years, philosophy-oriented members of the LB Trading Company rediscovered texts of the original Lawful Brotherhood, which led to a schism. Philosophers, led by the first Inheritors, created the 'Order of the Ruby', which is mainly interested in the trade and use of Red Steel and Cinnabryl, as well as mastering the effects of the Red Curse ( see the AD&D 'Red Steel' boxed set for more information about this curse). However, as both of these commodities, as well as the Red Curse itself, are largely absent from the Great Northway Lands, the Order of the Ruby is rarely encountered here, and so has no influence in this region worth noting.
'The Lawful Alliance' is a term sometimes used, and refers to the goodwill shown between the Lawful Brotherhood, lupins, dervishes and tortles. All of these groups are similar in their ideological positions, and so often help each other when the circumstances warrant it. The Lawful Alliance is most pronounced in and around the ruins of Yazak, where these different groups have actually entered into a military alliance.
As a final note, the Lawful Brotherhood should not be confused with 'the Brotherhood of Law'. Around 550 AC, there existed a notorious band of mercenaries from Slagovich who sometimes pretended to be altruistic initiates of a lawful religious order. When doing so, they referred to themselves as the 'Brotherhood of Law', and the sole purpose of this ruse was so that they could trick their way into strongholds in order to loot them. This mercenary band even went as far as advertising for the services of other adventurers in Slagovich, in order to help them locate where the Lawful Brotherhood's strongholds were situated along the Savage Coast.
In truth, this mercenary band was actually led by a cleric of Azanteotl, which explains why they targeted Lawful Brotherhood outposts so often (Ixion and Azanteotl are sworn enemies). This band was successful for a number of years before finally meeting their comeuppance when reinforcements turned up by chance at a Lawful Brotherhood fort which they were sacking at the time. This mercenary group was sometimes referred to as 'the Chaotic Brotherhood' by some, although there is no evidence that they actually referred to themselves by this name. There is also no link between them and the Chaotic Sisterhood, as evidenced by the fact that the Chaotic Brotherhood met its end more than 100 years before the Chaotic Sisterhood came into being.
The Chaotic Sisterhood ("the Sisterhood")
This secretive organisation came into being largely as a consequence of the discrimination that women face under the ruling Theocracy in Hule. Only men can be promoted to the rank of 'Holy One' (and this is why members of this rank are often referred to as 'Holy Men'), and it is these individuals who wield the most power in Hule after the Master (Hosadus) himself.
Around 630 AC, a number of female Hulean clerics of Loki formed their own organisation, with the aim of securing more power for Hule, Loki, and themselves. This organisation was initially known as the Sisterhood of Hule. However, as their success grew, a number of the Holy Ones became uneasy, as they sensed that their own power base would eventually be threatened by the growing influence of the Sisterhood within Hule.
[Image: Meeting of Chaotic Sisters]
Caption: Meeting of Chaotic Sisters
As a consequence, a number of Holy Ones announced that they had received visions, sent from Loki himself, warning them that the Sisterhood was planning to usurp the power of Hosadus. Laws were quickly passed by the Holy Ones that outlawed the Sisterhood, and orders were also given to the Diviners (religious watchmen) for the arrest of the Sisterhood's most prominent leaders.
Loki was torn during this conflict, partially because both the Holy Ones and the Sisterhood of Hule were his followers. Furthermore, the Holy Ones' plan to hold on to their own power through treachery and deceit was in line with his own teachings, and so he felt unable to punish them directly for their actions. He therefore decided to intervene by warning the leaders of the Sisterhood of their immediate danger by sending them visions in their dreams. This enabled many of them to flee Hule just in time to avoid imprisonment and, ultimately, death.
Over time, the Sisterhood regrouped, moving from location to location until they eventually settled in Herath on the Savage Coast. However, the Sisterhood wanted to be in command of territory that was far from any nation, so they could plan and scheme without interference. Eventually they discovered and ultimately relocated to the ancient ruins of Dravya in the Yazak Steppes around 700 AC. They still have a number of operatives in Herath, and are more active there than in any other part of the Savage Coast as they get on well with the aranea living there. However, they now have hardly any operatives in Hule, as the Diviners (religious watchmen) are particularly good at rooting out spies using magics such as ESP and clairvoyance.
The primary goals of the Chaotic Sisterhood are to gain as much power and knowledge as possible for themselves (and for some entropic Immortals whom they follow), as well as keeping the lands surrounding Dravya free from any settlers and explorers. To achieve the latter goal, they purposely spread rumours about dangerous natives and inhospitable grasslands around Dravya itself. These rumours have now become widely accepted, partly because there is an element of truth to them all.
The Sisterhood is not interested in directly controlling surrounding nations, but rather, by influencing them via a technique which they call "power behind the throne". Therefore, rulers encountered in the Savage Coast would never be working directly for the Sisterhood, but their advisers might very well be.
Although the origins of the Sisterhood come from Hule, this organisation has no loyalty to that nation now. In fact, the history of what transpired in Hule still causes some resentment within the Sisterhood towards that nation, and so any Hulean interests are quite likely to be scuppered in the Great Northway lands by the Sisterhood whenever an opportunity presents itself.
The only actual restriction on joining the Sisterhood is that the prospective member must be female. However, the ruthlessness that the Sisterhood often employs in order to achieve its goals means that, in reality, only people of Chaotic alignment would ever join it (for the AD&D alignment system, this would stretch to Neutral Evil, Chaotic Neutral and Chaotic Evil). The restriction that all clerics must be followers of Loki was dropped about fifty years after the Sisterhood fled Hule. However, for practical reasons, any prospective cleric must still follow a deity whose methods and goals are not too dissimilar to those of Loki himself. Obviously, this would exclude clerics of any Immortal who stands for the forces of good, but clerics of Orcus, for example, would also be excluded as wanton death and destruction are not goals of the Sisterhood either. Two examples of other Immortals whose clerics have joined the Sisterhood at various times are Talitha and Masauwu.
Although the Sisterhood allows all classes to join, very few members are actually fighters. This is because most of their goals are achieved through subterfuge and cunning, rather than brute force. Furthermore, if the Sisterhood does require the service of fighters, they would normally either recruit from the human tribes near the Dravya ruins (which they influence by the use of either charm spells or by generous gifts), or hire mercenaries, if the Sisterhood needs something performed further afield. The Sisterhood also has significant influence over the humanoid tribes that can be found in this region; thus, humanoid raiders have also been employed in the past.
"The Chaotic Alliance" is a term sometimes used and refers to the alliance between the Chaotic Sisterhood, the aranea, the snappers, the human tribes, and some humanoid tribes found in the regions surrounding the Dravya ruins. Some of these human tribes are also cannibalistic in nature.
Currently, the Chaotic Alliance are keen to keep any intruders out of the lands they control, as well as scuppering any plans of the Lawful Alliance. Anyone captured alive in this region will usually be brought to the Sisterhood in the Dravya ruins for judgement and punishment. Assuming this is the first time an adventuring party has been caught, they will most likely be stripped of all monetary valuables and magic items, and then be released about 50-100 miles away from the Dravya ruins. Repeat offenders will receive much harsher punishments, such as being handed over to a tribe of nearby cannibals.
The Sisterhood is aware of the true nature of the Herathians, but it is unlikely that they would ever reveal the araneas' masquerade as the Sisterhood fears retribution for doing so. In any event, they tend to get on well with the Herathians, and thus have no real motivation for revealing the araneas' secret.
The Neutral Alliance
The Neutral Alliance is made up of rakasta, nomads, pagans and some natives who live in the Dravish Steppes and in the Bylot Hills.
The rakasta have lived in this region for over a millennia. They once occupied the lands to the south in addition to those that they now hold, but were eventually driven out by the humanoid tribes who migrated there. Some of these rakasta were driven further south to the coast, where they formed the nation of Bellayne, which exists to this day. The others retreated further north, to the Dravish Steppes, and also to the Western part of the Bylot Hills.
The pagans share the same ancestry as those who live in the nation called Robrenn on the Savage Coast. Both are descended from a druidic nation which lies northwest of Hule, within the huge forest near the centre of this continent. The Pagans worship the gods and goddesses of nature, and dress differently from the nomads and natives of the Great Northway Lands. These pagans wear voluminous brown robes, and often wear leather armour underneath if they are expecting danger. They also prefer to live in forests, and so are most often encountered in the woodland areas of the Great Northway Lands. Some do live in the plains, however, and so they can be encountered almost anywhere in this region. Their names are also similar to those used in Robrenn.
[Image: Arch Druid]
Caption: Arch Druid
Many of the natives and nomads are descended from the Oltecs who first migrated into this region around 4000 BC. There are a few differences between them, however. The natives tend to build and live in small settlements year-round, and are most commonly found on the western side of the Great Northway. They also generally prefer to hunt rather than keeping livestock. The nomads, on the other hand, tend to live in the eastern side of the Great Northway, and migrate to different lands during the various seasons. They generally herd and keep their own livestock, and live in camps as opposed to permanent settlements (there are, of course, exceptions to most of these rules). Both of these groups tend to wear armour made out of the hides of animals, and favour the use of bows, spears, and daggers over other weapons. The Atruaghin Gazetteer (GAZ14) provides much source material which can be adapted to these peoples. The Neutral Alliance tends to have more influence on the eastern side of the Great Northway, which explains why they have more nomads in their ranks than natives.
The Neutral Alliance came into existence around 700 AC, and their current base of operations is in the ancient ruins of Bylot. The rakasta have historically been the enemies of lupins, and they therefore became concerned when the lupins allied themselves with the Lawful Brotherhood near the Yazak ruins. When the Lawful Brotherhood subsequently began converting some nearby natives to their faith (these converts are known as 'dervishes'), then the rakasta realised they had to act. They quickly made pacts with the neighbouring pagans, as well as some nomadic and native tribes, and quickly put aside all previous grievances. They then called this new arrangement the Neutral Alliance. These different groups now work together, to stop the Lawful Alliance from spreading out, and either vanquishing or converting other native and nomadic tribes. This has been largely successful, although the Neutral Alliance have had, in their view, some good fortune in achieving this, as the clerical support from the Lawful Brotherhood should have tipped the odds against them.
In truth, the 'good fortune' of the Neutral Alliance is often the result of intervention by the Chaotic Sisterhood. Not only are the Chaotic Sisterhood's beliefs in complete contrast to those of the Lawful Brotherhood, but they are also concerned that if the dervishes, lupins and the Lawful Brotherhood push further northwards, they could eventually be a threat to the Sisterhood's own base of operations in Dravya. Therefore, the Chaotic Sisterhood often involve themselves in operations such as attacking the Lawful Brotherhood's supply caravans, or tipping off the Neutral Alliance about the Lawful Brotherhood's plans. However, the Sisterhood is careful not to be implicated directly, and so these tip offs are always sent by covert means. One tactic used is to communicate via magical means to nomadic shamans while they sleep. Usually the shaman will consider these messages to be visions sent from their god and will therefore act on them, causing the Neutral Alliance to avoid some defeat or misfortune. As things currently stand, the Neutral Alliance and their unknown benefactors are currently holding their own against the Lawful Brotherhood and their allies, with neither side making or losing much ground.
One exception to the above would be if the Neutral Alliance began making tribal alliances near the ruins of Dravya. These tribes are currently under the control of the Sisterhood and they therefore do not want them swearing allegiance to the Neutral Alliance. In this situation, the Chaotic Sisterhood would then work against the Neutral Alliance by sabotaging any proposed alliance. Ultimately, the Chaotic Sisterhood always acts in its own interest, and is not in any way ideologically linked to the Neutral Alliance. The help they are currently providing is due to vested interests only, which will be dropped by the Sisterhood once those vested interests disappear.
Travelling in the Great Northway Lands
The Portals to Everyland
[Map: Great Northway Lands Portals]
Caption: Great Northway Lands Portals
These portals have proven to be the longest-lasting legacy of the Dravish civilisation. The only known functioning portals are situated in the ruins of Yazak, Bylot, and Dravya. However, using these portals is extremely dangerous, as all they are situated near the main camps of the Lawful Alliance, the Neutral Alliance, and the Chaotic Alliance respectively. All are guarded to ensure that the arrival of unwanted guests is detected immediately and the appropriate action can then be taken without delay.
In order to activate a portal's teleportation magic, the user must walk through the portal in the direction that they wish to travel whilst holding the correct component. This component is one quarter of a tortle egg shell, which must be held in the user's hands. The shell fragment will then disintegrate once the teleportation magic is initialised. If an individual is holding more than one quarter of a tortle shell in their hands, then all of the shell will still be used up when the teleportation occurs. Please note, however, that any tortle shells carried by the portal user that are not being held in either hand will not be used up when the teleportation is activated. Also, the teleportation magic must actually be activated for the tortle shell to be used up - facing a direction where one cannot travel to while stepping into a portal, for example, would not teleport the user anywhere, or cause any part of a tortle shell to disintegrate.
Various portals are scattered around these ruins, which all face in different directions, so the user would first need to find the portal facing the chosen destination. For example, if the portal user was standing in Dravya, and wished to travel to Bylot, he would need to find the portal which actually faces Bylot. Then, assuming the user was holding at least one quarter of a tortle egg shell, he would then be teleported to the ruins of Bylot once he stepped through the portal. Care should be taken during this process to avoid being teleported to the wrong location.
An extra danger in travelling this way is that the portals located in Bylot are beginning to malfunction as their magical power is slowly fading. A few hundred years ago, one of the portals began to emit magical lightning which would electrocute any user when it was activated (for 1-20 hp of damage). Over time, this eventually spread to all of the portals in the Bylot ruins, and so none of them can be used safely now. In addition to the lightning damage, if anyone uses these portals, then there is also a 5% chance that the user will be teleported 500 miles in the direction he was facing while stepping through the portal (as opposed to being teleported to the ruins the portal faces). However, these portals can be repaired if the magic user spell 'teleport any object' is cast onto them. In addition, if the party ever encounters a portal where the teleportation magic has completely faded, then it can be reactivated by casting both the 'teleport any object' and 'permanence' spells onto the portal. A portal can therefore only be permanently disabled if it is destroyed.
There may be portals located in other Dravish ruins (it is for the DM to decide how many portals he wants located in this area). All will function in the same way, and are placed in various triangular patterns over the land (see map 2). Triangles held a particular religious significance to the Dravya as well as featuring in their astronomy, and they used them in the distant past when deciding where to locate their cities. It is strongly recommended that the Games Master allows a portal to be located within the Monoliths of Zul (although this need not be functioning properly at the start of the campaign). This will then allow direct travel to the Great Northway Lands from the Savage Coast at a later date, and will, therefore, make this area more accessible to the players.
Please note that if you allow additional portals in the campaign, then teleporting along a line will still only transport the user one portal along the line (and so, one could not travel directly from Dravya to the Monoliths of Zul in one go, although this could be done after a number of successive teleportation journeys as long as enough tortle egg shells are available). In addition, one should remember that the portals only exist in certain Dravya ruins and not in the tortle mounds that are also shown on the maps.
The use of the Portals to Everyland is a closely guarded secret. Some tortle scholars know how to use these portals, as do certain members of the Chaotic Sisterhood and a few of the Lawful Brotherhood. This knowledge should, however, be difficult to acquire for the player characters, and will most likely involve them having to complete a difficult quest for an individual who understands how these portals work. Acquiring the secret of the portals should ultimately be an aim of any party which is serious about exploring the Great Northway Lands.
Obviously, knowledge of these portals gives an individual great power, as they can then travel to parts of the Great Northway Lands almost instantly. However, such knowledge also comes with unwanted attention. The Chaotic Sisterhood always keeps an eye out to see who are using these portals and for what purpose, so any party using them regularly will get noticed by the Sisterhood, and will eventually be confronted by them.
The Wheel of Infinite Travel
Unbeknownst to all, there is another way to travel these lands magically which is even more potent than use of the Portals of Everyland; an artefact known as the Wheel of Infinite Travel. This wheel is made of jet black obsidian and was crafted by Otzityka, the ancient Dravish goddess who represented both death and rebirth (the statistics for this artefact are given in the adventuring section below). The Wheel of Infinite Travel is rumoured to be located in a long abandoned Dravish temple, which was dedicated to Otzityka in the distant past. She gave this artefact to a head matriarch of her religious order as a reward for loyal service around 1700 BC, and it is rumoured to have remained in the temple ever since.
To use this artefact, one must step onto the Wheel and conjure a mental image of the chosen destination. The user is then teleported to that location with no chance of error. However, as is always the case with artefacts, there are dangers involved in using the Wheel. Furthermore, either using this artefact regularly or removing it from its current location in the hidden temple will most likely gain Otzityka's attention. Assuming she considers the user to be worthy, she would most likely still demand a service for the regular use of her artefact, the exact nature of which is up to the Games Master.
As a final note, this artefact is shown to be located at a hidden temple in Risilvar in module X9 (the Savage Coast). However, as this was set around 550 AC (about 450 years ago), it may have been moved to another location by now (perhaps even Otzityka herself has moved it to another temple since then).
[Image: Caravan attacked]
Caption: Caravan attacked
The Hidden Paths
There is also another (albeit much slower) way to travel parts of the Great Northway Lands without danger of becoming lost. There are hidden trails which form a triangular pattern between the ruins of Bylot, Dravya, and Yazak. Most of these paths are now overgrown with grass, and have many stones either dislodged or buried. Therefore, these paths are now almost impossible to spot on the ground, unless an individual is specifically looking for them. However, when viewed from at least 30 metres in the air, they then become much more visible. These paths are made from a different type of soil and stone than those of the surrounding lands. This gives them a slightly alternate colour, but this subtle difference in shade is very difficult to spot at ground level. However, if an individual does manage to discover these paths, he will then be able to follow them on foot with only a little difficulty (movement rate is halved).
These paths are manmade and are not magical. They also do not deviate from being perfectly straight by more than a few metres for every mile. These paths run straight over all terrain and even cut through woods and rivers along their path. As long as they are being followed, there is no chance of a traveller becoming lost, which is one of the greatest dangers of travelling in the Great Northway Lands.
These paths had a religious significance to those that etched them into the ground many centuries ago. They date from the early Dravish Empire around 2000 BC, and were used primarily before the creation of the Portals from Everyland. They still were used by commoners even towards the end of the Dravish civilisation, however, as the portals were only ever used regularly by the nobility and their messengers. The tortles and snappers also relied on these roads until the end of the Dravish Empire, as they were forbidden from using the portals.
Adventuring in the Great Northway Lands
There are many types of adventures that can be set in this region. However, the wilderness lands are quite dangerous, and so care should be taken when dealing with low level adventurers.
Below is a suggested outline of the different types of adventures that can be run for parties exploring this region.
Basic level characters (levels 1-3): Various city intrigue adventures could be run in Richland or Cropland. Murders, thefts or other crimes may need investigating, especially if the city watch are busy or have been unable to solve the crimes themselves. Farmers may also have some of their livestock attacked or eaten by predators, and the party could therefore be hired to track those creatures down.
Merchants will always need caravan guards when travelling the open waters of Yalu Bay, and the party couldbe hired for this purpose. Pirates are known to stalk the trade routes, and the party may be required to help guard valuable shipping consignments.
Expert level characters (levels 4-14): At this level, the adventuring party have enough experience to brave the wilderness areas. Travelling to long lost ruins to claim long hidden treasures, as well as discovering the proper use of the 'Portals to Everyland', would be likely adventures at this point. The party would also become aware of the three different factions active here (the Lawful Brotherhood, the Neutral Alliance and the Chaotic Sisterhood) if they spend enough time travelling through these lands, and may decide to either join or oppose some of these groups.
The adventuring party may decide to help the LB Trading Company as well, either by funding or leading new trading ventures, or by looking for rare gemstones or other valuables which would be profitable to trade. The adventuring party may even decide to purchase their own boat and start up their own trading venture. However, if they become successful at this, it may draw the unwanted attention of other trading houses or pirates...
Companion level characters (levels 15-25): At this level, the characters would now be influential and well known in the Great Northway Lands. They may try setting up a dominion in this region (most likely somewhere on the coast of Yalu Bay), in order to attract and rule over settlers and traders.
If they have joined any of the three factions mentioned above, they may finally be able to become the leaders of these organisations, or help to defeat some of the other factions. Alternatively, they may decide to help broker peace between the Lawful Alliance and the Neutral Alliance, which would finally bring some peace and stability to the region. However, the Chaotic Sisterhood would still likely cause mischief, unless they are ultimately defeated as well.
Master level characters (levels 26-36): Although there are many adventures to be had in the Great Northway Lands, there are few that would challenge or interest a party at this level of power.
However, it is possible that an ancient and powerful Dravish lich may awaken from two millennia of slumber, and attempt to bring about the restoration of the fallen Dravish empire, together with the introduction of slavery, human sacrifices, and the subjugation of the tortles. It is also possible that a powerful wyrm, such as an ancient red dragon or a huge dragon turtle, may begin to disrupt the trade routes or attack settlements in the region. These events may require adventurers of exceptional mettle in order to resolve.
There is also the matter of the Wheel of Infinite Travel. This artefact is most likely hidden in an ancient Dravish temple somewhere in or near the Great Northway Lands. Acquiring an immortal's artefact is a feat worthy of a master-level party, and should be a challenge for anyone attempting to recover it. The Immortal in question would also expect a notable service to be performed for her in return for the use of the Wheel on a regular basis.
Creatures Found in the Great Northway Lands
The terrain encounter lists given below summarise the creatures most often encountered in this region; however, it should be noted that other monsters exist in lesser numbers in these lands as well. Furthermore, the Dungeon Master is always free to add additional monsters to these lists to suit his or her particular campaign.
Grassland or hills: animal herds (various), aranea, archer bush, caecilia, chimera, dervish, dire wolves, djinni (lesser), doppleganger, dragon (blue), dragonne, dog, efreeti (lesser), horse (draft and war), goblin, giant dragonfly (all types), giant spider (all types), golem (amber, bone, bronze), grab grass, hawk (normal, giant), hobgoblin, hydra (flying), hypnosnake, invisible stalker, living statue (crystal, iron, rock), lupin, native, nomad, orc, pagan, pocket dragon, purple worm, rakasta, robber fly, rust monster, sabre-tooth tiger, scorpion (normal, giant), snake (rattlesnake, viper), tortle, vampire rose bush, wyvern.
Barren or rocky desert: djinni (lesser), dragon (red, gold), dragonne, efreeti (lesser), giant lizard (all types), giant spider (tarantula), golem (amber, bone, bronze), hawk (normal, giant), hydra (flying), hypnosnake, living statue (crystal, iron, rock), nomad, orc, pocket dragon, purple worm, rakasta, robber fly, rust monster, scorpion (normal and giant), snakes (rattlesnake and viper), wyvern.
Woods: aranea, archer bush, doppleganger, dragon (green, gold), dog, goblin, giant dragonfly (all types), giant spider (all types), killer tree, hawk (normal, giant), hobgoblin, invisible stalker, living statue (crystal, iron), orc, pagan, pocket dragon, robber fly, rust monster, snake (viper, python), vampire rose bush, whipweed, wyvern.
Swamp: amoeba (giant), chimera, crocodile (normal, giant), decapus (marine), dragon (black), goblin, giant dragonfly (all types), grey ooze, hobgoblin, hydra (flying), orc, pocket dragon, robber fly, rust monster, snake (sea), strangleweed, termite (swamp), wyvern.
Ocean or river: amoeba (giant), chimera, decapus (marine), dragon (blue, gold, sea), fish (giant rockfish, gargantua), giant dragonfly (all types), grey ooze, hydra (flying and sea), sea serpent, shark (any), snake (sea), snapper, termite (fresh water and salt), wyvern.
Ruins and underground chambers: centipede (giant), giant beetle (all types), giant lizard (all types), giant spider (all types), goblin, golem (amber, bone, bronze), grey ooze, hobgoblin, hyposnake, living statue (crystal, iron, rock), orc, rat (normal, giant), scorpion (normal, giant), shadow, spectre, wraith.
New Artefact - The Wheel of Infinite Travel
One legend tells that in the distant past, a priestess showed such dedication and promise in her duties that her Immortal patron granted her this wheel. It is rumoured to allow a user to travel anywhere in the world within a blink of an eye, without even the need for a command word to be spoken.
Some sages warn caution on its use, however, as both madness and death are rumoured to walk in its wake. In using this wheel, it is said that although your physical form will reach the chosen destination, your sanity, and indeed your very life force, may not.
Description: This artefact appears as a jet black obsidian wheel, about three feet in diameter. It is formed from six separate wedgelike formations, all made from obsidian, joined together to make its characteristic wheel shape.
Magnitude: Minor artefact
Suggested Powers: 100 power points (PP)
Dimension door (25 PP)
Teleport without error (75 PP)
Activation: An individual needs only to conjure an image of the chosen destination while standing on the wheel, and will then be transported there immediately. If the destination is within 360 metres, then the dimension door power is activated. If the destination is further away, the teleport without error power is activated. Any users should be careful, however, as they will be transported to any destination they are thinking about while standing on the wheel, regardless of whether they actually want to travel there or not. The destination can be anywhere on the prime plane, but not on any other plane of existence, otherwise the magic will not activate.
The user must have either been to the chosen destination previously, or have been given a very good description of that destination. The description must be to the point that the image in the user's mind could be recognised as being the chosen location by another. Vague or inaccurate descriptions are therefore not sufficient.
Use of powers: Standing on the wheel and imagining the destination are all that is required - no command words need to be spoken. The travelling abilities can only be established by experimentation, or by the use of either a commune or a contact outer plane spell. The wheel does not travel with the user when its powers are activated.
Handicaps and penalties:
Handicap: The artefact is only able to recharge slowly, at the rate of three power points per day. If any power is activated for which the artefact does not hold sufficient power points, then the user is drained of one level of experience immediately. This will then enable the artefact to activate the required power, as well as restore it back to the maximum amount of power points it can hold (100 PP). The lost experience level can be recovered by the use of the cleric's spell 'restore', or through normal adventuring. If for some reason the user is immune to level draining, then the artefact is not recharged and the chosen power is not activated.
Penalty: This occurs every time the teleport without error ability is activated. The immortal level travelling magic is so powerful that it can cause any mortal user to temporarily become very disorientated. Once a mortal is teleported to the chosen destination, they are then subject to an effect identical to the 4th level magic user spell, confusion. A successful saving throw versus spells negates this effect completely, and in any event, the disorientation never lasts for more than twelve gaming rounds.
Source: Module X9 - The Savage Coast. Note: the module states that the user must have visited the chosen destination before. However, this is not a requirement for the standard 5th level magic user spell 'teleport'. As this artefact holds immortal level magic and its powers are therefore more potent than a standard teleport spell, I have relaxed this restriction.
Below are the game statistics of two new monsters, which can only be found in or around the Great Northway Lands.
Flying Fire Hydra (very rare)
Armour Class: 2
Save As: Fighter 7-9
Hit Dice: 7** to 9**
Move: 120' (40'); Flying 180 (60')
Treasure Type: B x 2
Attacks: 7-9 bites or breath/1 wing/1 tail
Damage: 1d10 or 8 points/1d6+1/1d6+1
No Appearing: 1 (1-2)
XP Value: 1250, 1750 or 2300
Of all the different varieties of hydrae that have been encountered, this is likely to be the most rare and the most dangerous.
These creatures vary between having either seven, eight or nine heads, each of which can employ a bite or breath attack each round. They also have very durable red scales, giving them a better armour class than other types of hydrae. These scales are also heat resistant - this creature is immune to normal fire and only takes half damage from any magical fire attack.
The origins of this creature are to be found within the Dravish Empire, more than two millennia ago. This creature was the end result of magical experimentation which attempted to enhance the abilities of a normal hydra with those of a red dragon. These creatures were created and bred to be employed as a guards of valuable treasures, but their cunning and ferocity could not ultimately be contained and a number of them managed to escape from captivity and fled to the rocky desert lands located just to the west of the Bylot Hills. Fortunately, this creature's magical nature also makes it difficult for it to hatch young, so its numbers have remained low over the many centuries since its creation.
In combat, each head may either bite for 1-10 points of damage or breathe fire, which causes 8 hit points of damage (a successful saving throw vs. breath weapons will halve this damage). Each head can breathe fire three times a day (the same as a dragon). Once a head has used this ability three times, that head can only employ its bite attack until 24 hours have passed. A fire hydra will also employ its breath attacks intelligently and not randomly. Each breath attack from a head can only affect one individual and has a limited range (15 feet), but it does hit automatically (just as a dragon's breath weapon does). It is also possible for an individual to be hit by multiple breath weapon attacks from different heads in the same round.
A flying fire hydra is also able to employ both a wing and tail attack each round, in addition to its other attacks. When an individual is struck by either a wing or its tail, he must make a saving throw vs paralysis or be either stunned for 1-4 rounds (wing attack) or be knocked over and disarmed (tail attack). A character knocked over and disarmed must spend a round standing up and retrieving his weapon before being able to attack again. Attacks against the character during this round will also receive a four point bonus to the hit roll.
This type of hydra has a pair of large bat like wings and so is able to employ a swoop attack from the air with up to three heads, each of which can carry off a man-sized or smaller opponent.
[Image: Giant fighting a hydra]
Caption: Giant fighting a hydra
Armour Class: 5
Save As: Fighter 5
Hit Dice: 4+4
Move: 180' (60');
Treasure Type: Nil
Attacks: 2 claws / 1 bite
No Appearing: 1-4 (3-12)
XP Value: 125
Feliquines are half-feline and half-equine, with the front half resembling that of a lion and the hindquarters resembling that of a horse. Most are coloured like lions although some exceptions do exist.
It is rumoured that these creatures were created by Herathian wizards as beasts of burden, but this has never been established as a fact. However, what is known is that these creatures are only found in the vast grasslands of the Yazak Steppes and not elsewhere, and so this does give these rumours some credibility.
These creatures are sometimes used as mounts by the rakasta - this is particularly true for the nomadic tribes that live on the borders of Bellayne. The rakasta of the Great Northway Lands also use these beasts as mounts on occasion, as well as sabre-tooth tigers. Only rakasta are able to train and ride these beasts due to their ferocity (although the Games Master may also allow elves this privilege). Even when trained, a feliquine can still show an individualistic streak, and they have been known to ignore commands for no obvious reason.
Wild feliquines usually prey on the animal herds that populate the grasslands of the Great Northway Lands. However, they have also been known to attack goblinoids when particularly hungry. It is very rare for them to attack either humans or demi-humans without provocation, and they never prey on rakasta.
Feliquines usually attack with both claws and their ferocious bite each round. They also have a powerful kick attack which deals 2-12 points of damage. However, this kick can only ever be employed on opponents standing behind the feliquine, and it cannot be used in the same round as the two claw attacks.
Note: feliquines were first described in the Red Steel AD&D boxed set. The statistics presented above are almost the same as those shown in the original source material.
Game Statistics for the Common Non-Human Races
Please note that the statistics presented below represent a standard individual for each race. More powerful or experienced individuals also exist. These statistics were also first provided in the supplement DMR2 and are not my own creation.
Lupin: AC 6; HD 2; move 120' (40'); attack, 1 weapon; damage by weapon type; save as fighter 2; morale 8; intelligence 10; alignment, usually lawful (but can be any); XPV 20.
Special abilities: can detect invisible within 10'; start with 2HD; can recognise werewolves on sight; can train dire wolves.
Lupins can advance in levels just as humans can, and use the same class hit points (i.e. lupin clerics gain 1-6 hp a level, etc). However, lupins are subject to a 10% XP penalty due to their special abilities. They also start with a one-time penalty of 2,000 XP.
Rakasta: AC 6; HD 2+1; move 90' (30'); attacks, 2 claws/1 bite; 1-4 damage each; save as fighter 2; morale 9; intelligence 12; alignment, usually neutral (but can be any); XPV 25.
Special abilities: can detect invisible within 10'; start with 2+1HD; can attack three times a round; can train sabre-tooth tigers.
Rakasta can advance in levels just as humans can, and use the same class hit points (i.e. rakasta thieves gain 1-4 hp a level, etc). However, rakasta are subject to a 20% XP penalty due to their special abilities. They also start with a one-time penalty of 2,200 XP.
Aranea: AC 7; HD 3**; move 180' (60'); attacks, 1 bite; 1-6 damage plus poison; save as magic user 3; morale 7; intelligence 14; alignment, usually chaotic (but can be any); XPV 65.
Special abilities: can spin webs; poisonous bite (causes 1-4 hp of damage for 1-4 rounds if a save vs poison is failed); can cast spells as a third-level magic user.
Aranea are monsters, but can advance in levels at the Games Master's discretion. If this is allowed, then the guidelines for monster levels given in the Orcs of Thar gazetteer (GAZ10) should be used.
Tortles: AC 3; HD 4; move 30' (10'); attacks, 2 claws/1 beak or 1 weapon; damage 1-4/1-4/1-6 or by weapon type; save as fighter 4; morale 11; intelligence 8; alignment lawful; XPV 75.
Special abilities: They can withdraw into their shells, making them highly resistant to most forms of damage. They can also hold their breath underwater for up to 10 turns (15 minutes).
Under the rules, tortles are treated as being monsters and so do not gain levels of experience - this is due to their nature which includes a noticeable lack of ambition.
Snappers: AC 5; HD 3; move 30' (10'); attacks, 2 claws/1 beak or 1 weapon; damage 1-6/1-6/1-8 or by weapon type; save as fighter 3; morale 9; intelligence 8; alignment chaotic; XPV 35.
Special abilities: They can swim up to 180' (60') a round. They can also hold their breath underwater for up to 10 turns (about 15 minutes).
Under the rules, snappers are treated as being monsters and so do not gain levels of experience - snappers have little interest in adventuring.
Kzinti: AC 9 (without armour); HD 4+4*; move 150' (50'); attacks, 2 claws or by weapon; 1-6/1-6 or by weapon type; save as fighter 4; morale 9; intelligence 12; alignment neutral; XPV 200.
Special abilities: They have the following skills; blind fighting, alertness, hide in shadows, 60' infravision and can also detect invisible creatures up to 10'. They may roar once per encounter which gives all opponents a penalty of -1 to hit and -1 to all saving throws if they fail to make a saving throw vs paralysis. Kzinti also have an energy burst ability which enables them to attack and save as a creature with 3 more Hit Dice once per day. They can wear most types of armour if available, but leather armour is preferred. They also only take half damage from any fall.
Kzinti are treated as monsters and so cannot gain levels of experience. However, their leaders do have more hit dice than the statistics given above for a standard kzinti. Shamans are also common for this race.
Original work by author see below
Bastet, the Goddess of Cat in Ancient Egypt by Gunkarta via Wikimedia Commons.
An engraving of an image shown on a Vendel era bronze plate discovered in Öland, Sweden, from a 1905 book via Wikimedia Commons
Etching of a spider from Spiro Mound site, Oklahoma, US, via Wikimedia Commons
A rock painting of a turtle from Australia via Wikimedia Commons
[Image: Oltec ruins]
Panorama of Uxmal, Mexico, by Palimp Sesto via Wikimedia Commons
[Image: Trident Isles]
Cozumel, Meximo, panorama via Wikimedia Commons
[Image: Bisons in the Yazak steppes]
Bison at the Tallgrass Prairie Nature Preserve, Osage County, Oklahoma by Smallchief via Wikimedia Commons
[Image: Dry Flats and Bylot Hills]
Saguaro National Park, US, by Joe Parks via Wikimedia Commons
[Image: Lawful Brotherhood Church]
Photo of Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, Photograph by Bicvan T. Brown via Wikimedia Commons
[Image: Lawful Brotherhood Knights]
Detail of a miniature of Philip Augustus arriving in Palestine, via Wikimedia Commons
[Image: Meeting of Chaotic Sisters]
Witches from Macbeth by John Downman via Wikimedia Commons
[Image: Arch Druid]
Imaginative illustration of 'An Arch Druid in His Judicial Habit', 1815, from "The Costume of the Original Inhabitants of the British Islands" by S.R. Meyrick and C.H. Smith via Wikimedia Commons
Original map by the author
The Emigrants by Frederic Remington, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, via Wikimedia Commons
Hercules and the Hydra by Antonio del Pollaiolo, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy via Wikimedia Commons
1Available as a pdf at this link: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/16989/DMR2-Creature-Catalog-Basic?it=1
2Kzinti origin in the works of author Larry Niven and later appeared in a Star Trek: Animated Series episode (the 1973 animated series episode "The Slaver Weapon" was adapted by Niven himself from one of his own stories featuring the Kzinti). Bruce Heard also wrote about the kzinti in D&D in his blog: http://bruce-heard.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/d-game-ideas_09.html