Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Realm of Alfgrim

Alfgrim is the home of my knight, Sir Maledoric Goreson, eighth-ælfen Cleric of Nebrovolent and apostate preacher travelling to Normandie for the Jousting Tournament run by +Mike Davison

It's great fun to think of places spawned by these FLAILSNAILS-y things, although my stance on the play style has been sort of... Filled with animosity. I know, I know. Let this be proof that hearts may change.

Gloomy and dew-clouded Alfgrim sits on a mystical border between Elfland, Narnia, Ravenloft, and Averoigne.  It's a pocket dimension that was fairly simple some decades ago; a few monochrome castles, a couple of dragons, a wicked sorcerer and an Enchanted Chalice was all that distinguished it. Since the Chalice was recovered and brought to the Yellow Castle by Sir Carredot, the place has bloomed and blossomed and become as wormy as an untended rose-bush.

Weeds and briars now grow wild over the once well-tended paths and gardens. The Black Castle fell into disrepair and is plagued by Kleptobats and Goblins (the Kaotic kind like in Disney's Cinderella, not the little green men kind). The various other great Castles have turned inward and become corrupt. The Dukes and Barons of Alfgrim owe their obeisance to the Master of the Enchanted Chalice. Some say he is a spiteful and gloomy avatar of the King of Elfland, but his Yellow Robes and jealous possession of the Chalice suggest he may have been the King of the Yellow Castle long ago. He may have once been a Nyarlathotep worshipper but he is rarely seen these years since he travels back and forth to other realms with some frequency.

A picture here of the Yellow Castle

Yorghl, Grundhl, and Rhindl have retired to deep caverns and spawned a multitude of other smaller and distinctive drakes that give sport to the plethora of minor knights that roam the demesne. Every gong-farmer, low courtesan and boot-black may become a knight by fulfilling a mysterious and inscrutable mission of the Yellow King. His agents come in the deep of night bearing a parchment scroll upon which is described some (perhaps trivial) task, the completion of which garners the man or woman a horse, lance, sword, and shield. Why the ruler would want a super-abundance of knights is unclear, but the nobility is prone to casual internecine warfare for unclear reasons and the ranks need be filled. The knights are broken down into a myriad of orders, and only a scant half dozen orders follow traditional notions of chivalry and then only loosely. For every 10,000 knights one might be a Paladin but several hundred are Blackguards, Anti-Paladins and Scoundrels. The rest are mere fighting men with tawdry banners.

The women at court all admire and copy elvish fashion and it is considered a great accomplishment to poison a rival and seduce his elvish mistress. The men are great fops and prone to change at the literal blowing of the wind. Powdered wigs are the norm as is ghastly makeup.

The stoutest children are delivered to the elves for whipping and scullery duty to put them in their place. They may return humbled, but they might also be changelings or 500 years older when their apprenticeships in the workshops of the elves are complete. They may come back the same day fully grown and half maddened.

There are no normal Dwarfs in Alfgrim but Duergar  and Redcaps abound in the woods and hills. Goblins and Hobs war with the elves on the borders of the elf lands and the occasional non-corrupt wandering preacher spreads the word of the Crucified Immortal Savior that was worshipped before Averoigne was clipped from the Aereth of long-ago. A million tiny saints have cropped up since then, and the worship of the gods of the Romani and Griega abounds beneath the surface and is accepted. The Master of the Chalice accepts dignitaries from the Bishop of Averoigne and sends couriers to and fro - they deal in finding heretics on the lam. These heretics are known to spread false doctrines of the nature of the demiurges that (if spread unchecked) could threaten the basis of the Averoignal Church

I envision some kind of Darklands/CAS/Mythos/Albrecht Durer/Pre-Raphaelite mockery of Chaucer and the Grail Legend

New Spells

  1. Thornbloom
  2. Prayer of St. Roch
  3. Flyblown
  4. Summon Dryad

New Monsters

  1. Lapines - Rabbit Hobbits
  2. Cruhound - the furious spirit of a faithful dog killed in anger by its master
  3. Pilgrim Ghuls - flagellant penant-cannibals who wander in packs trying hard and generally failing to delay the onset of their ghoul sickness. They serve St. Wendy Go
  4. Confessor Engines - great hulking suits of armor driven by the priests of the Crucified Immortal to find and destroy wayward heretics. They have a very narrow understanding of doctrine and do their best to flay and cremate armchair philosophers and theologians they come across after a brief debate
  5. Worm Surgeons - they offer bleeding, tending of wounds, barbering, and the innoculation of Grinthworms to remove physical disfigurements. Usually unpleasantly symetrical and totally within the Uncanny Valley of physical perfection 

Random Encounters by Hex Type (more to come, here):
  1. Road
  2. Castle/Keep
  3. City/Village/Town
  4. Swamp/Riverside/Lakeshore
  5. Hills
  6. Fields
  7. Forests
Even law abiding citizens ought not to be trusted in travelling the realm.  On a 1d4 roll of 1-3, the encounter will be dangerous and evil, and on a 4 the Reaction Roll will be adjusted to that of the lowest party member's - not the ostensible leader's.  Everyone is distrustful on the roads in Alfgrim.

Exports: silver, wheat, oak, pine, herbs, cinnabar, venoms, toxins, dragonscale and dragon flesh (not bones!), rubies, mushrooms, zombies and skeletal-automata, vivimantic chimerae

Imports: beef, chicken, corpses, lead, iron, exotic animals and monsters, spirits (alchemical), spirits (metaphysical)

Governmental structure: a loose aristocracy; the Master of the Enchanted Chalice is a despot but his concerns do not intersect with the day-to-day affairs of Alfgrim except in the matter of executions

Necromancy and Vivimancy are cottage industries and the Alfgrimners do hot trade with Y'lorgne and ship Chimerical monstrosities throughout the multiverse (mainly within the domains Alfgrim touches directly). Their arts of surgery and chirugery (and the subset skills of psychick chirugery) are well-advanced. The people have a very lawful streak, but almost all are pragmatist and sensible except in the matter of fashion and the most recent elfin fads and literature. They are by and large fairly dull and un-creative and easily ruled, doing their utmost to stay within the confines of the law and still make a profit and do the other party harm. Internecine strife is common and within the bounds of the law these feuds are perfectly legal.

Languages: the people of Alfgrim benefit from a steady diet of the pesc d'babel and use it in a number of condiments. Aminos from the fish provide the people of Alfgrim with a strange polyglottism and they all know a variety of modern and ancient languages. Low Gloranthan and Latinate Gothic are not susceptible to the amino frequencies of the fish and the first is used as the ritual language of the Worshipers of the Romani gods and the second as the language of the Church of of the Crucified Immortal
Stick that in your ear, monsieur
Population: as of QR 1871, Alfgrim's total population was about 428,000, mostly spread throughout several large cities and numerous villages. Isolated farm-steaders are often eaten by Hobs so the people of Alfgrim group in defensible walled settlements. Of these, perhaps 13000 are Duergar tradesmen, 7000 are elf and half-elfen aristocrats at court, and about 3000 others of various mixed local and inter-planar races. Of this small contingent, most are Saurioids (Sleestaks and Serpent-Men) and Crafted-persons (Golems of various types)

Main cities/villages

  1. Külm (the ostensible capital and seat of the Yellow Castle and its court)
  2. Theiönne
  3. Meitz
  4. Kurtesse
  5. Arinz
  6. Muteinne

Notable NPCs:

  1. The Yellow King, Master of the Enchanted Chalice, Commander of the Army of Squamous Flame, Opener of the Gates of the Kingdom
  2. Aric D'Anseln, High Lieutenant of the Order of the Chalice, Head Inquisitor
  3. Veruc, Hobgoblin Archmagos
  4. Aegelberth - Wandering Minstrel, key to the Narnian Gate (on the lam)
  5. Roberiel - Master of Rats and Minister of Hameline
  6. Byrine Gorgestes - Guardian of the Black Tower
  7. Jehann Dehurke - epileptic messiah and Key to the Averoignal Gate
  8. Laboragh Cortosk - Alchemist-Assassin and Head-Demon Worshipper of Vaubrac
  9. Lafcadio Hanzo - Ninja/Cobbler, Pilgrim from the Ketsu Empire

Notable Unique Monsters

  1. Yorghl and Grindhl the Dragons are long-dead but Rhindl bears their spawn at the bottom of the Gevaudrun Caverns. From there, monthly, a new dragon-spawn issues forth to wrack the lands. They still serve the Master of The Enchanted Chalice and it is unclear why he permits them to ravage the land. To kill dragons without a permit is High Treason.
  2. Baroness Trustoupe - Doppelgänger Matriarch of Elteste. It is natural and common for doppelgangers to enter into service of thieves guilds and the Baroness is rumoured to be everywhere
  3. Quentin Parago - Lapine Knight-Errant
  4. Hamaradd - Owlbear Genius
  5. Chuparant - Vampire, Current Key to the Ravenloft Gate (missing; presumed dormant - the Ravenloft Gate is open and unclosable)

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