Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

A Gazetteer of Ochalea - Introduction

by Giampaolo Agosta

Next: Timeline Up: A Gazetteer of Ochalea Previous: Contents   Contents


The Grand Duchy of Ochalea is one of the major settled areas beyond the Known World, yet in the canonical corpus less than a page is devoted to this large island. Moreover, the existing canonical description does not provide hooks and ideas for adventuring in Ochalea. The goal of the present work is therefore to fill this gap, exploiting the size of Ochalea to provide a varied setting, where opportunities for diplomacy, combat, espionage, magic and thievery can all be present.

This work assumes that one might want to run a campaign entirely set in Ochalea. Therefore, a sufficient range of player character options must be provided - yet Ochalea, in its canonical description, restricts heavily the racial and class options. To address this issue, this gazetteers assumes that, as proposed in the Dragon Magazine article, ``Campaign Classics: Lupins of the Mystara Setting'', Ochalea has a large proportion of Lupin inhabitants. The possibility of plane-touched characters (Genasi, Tieflings and Aasimar) is also introduced, though these characters are very rare and can easily be removed or not allowed as PCs.

Moreover, the population figures given in Dawn of the Emperors and in the Poor Wizard's Almanacs are not acceptable: first of all, the ratio of urban versus rural population is way too high, and then the presence of a dozen towns and villages is not accounted for in the given number. In the Geography section of this gazetteer, it is assumed that the figure given in Dawn of the Emperors refers only to the capitol, Beitung, and the surrounding countryside (the Shou and Wang provinces), not the entire island.

The spirits and shamans can be considered equivalent to those described in the Golden Khan of Ethengar Gazetteer.

Finally, there are a number of non-canonical sources that have been used: this work is based on the maps of Ochalea by James Mishler - though it replaces pseudo-Japanese names with pseudo-Chinese names, and on the great articles on the religion of Ochalea by Kit Navarro. For many themes and elements of the gazetteer, I have drawn inspiration from non-Mystaran sources, including Chinese wuxia literature (Chinese Ghost Stories, The Smiling Proud Wanderer, The Book and the Sword) and cinema (the Chinese Ghost Story series, Hero, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Forest of Flying Daggers, Seven Swords), as well as from the great wuxia AD&D mini-game, DragonFist. All of these are recommended readings/viewings. A list of (older) movies worth viewing can be found in the appendix to DragonFist (assuming DragonFist is still around in the net...).

The rest of this gazetteer is organized as follows. Section 2 gives an overview of the history of Ochalea; Section 3 and Section 4 describe the political system and the provinces of the Grand Duchy; Section 5 outlines the armed forces that defend Ochalea, while Section 6 and 7 list a number of religions and organizations that influence the Ochalean campaign; Section 8 describes a number of Ochalean famous (or infamous) characters; Sections 9 and 10, finally, provide a sampling of new magical and mundane items, as well as a listing of the most common monsters found in Ochalea.

Next: Timeline Up: A Gazetteer of Ochalea Previous: Contents   Contents