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Fields of Challenge / Re: Citadel Epub: Topic/Theme for Issue 5
« Last post by EchoMirage on Today at 08:25:02 AM »
I'd try my hand at a short piece.
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Greetings Traveler / Re: Hello One & All
« Last post by Dozus on Yesterday at 11:37:57 AM »
We look forward to your work!
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Greetings Traveler / Re: Hello One & All
« Last post by axlerowes on December 08, 2017, 09:35:40 PM »
welcome, and i hope you post one of your modules
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Citadel Tavern / Re: MoonHunter has a blog
« Last post by MoonHunter on December 08, 2017, 02:06:51 PM »
Three months later, nearly 100 posts.  Average Views in the 200s.  Not a bad thing. 
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Greetings Traveler / Re: Hello One & All
« Last post by Murometz on December 08, 2017, 10:01:53 AM »
Welcome, fellow 80's D&D'er!!
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Setting Forge / Re: Sanctum - A World Beyond its Fate
« Last post by EchoMirage on December 08, 2017, 08:03:42 AM »
Tallarn

An ancient land of secrets, Tallarn lies in the far south on a peninsula protruding deep into the azure waters of the Tempting Sea. More than a unified land, it is a loose band of Elven cities, each one hidden within its forested valley, on its windy mountaintop, secluded island or the bottom of a deep lake. Not only Elves inhabit the land – many creatures thought to exist only within legend walk under the green boughs here.
When a human witnesses Tallarn, he will feel an almost physical manifestation of the pressure of years that lies upon this land – despite the claims of Lyra, Tallarn is the oldest centre of civilization on the face of the planet, and thus the land is virtually littered with artifacts of bygone ages, ruins whose name no one remembers and magic so old it has a consciousness of its own.

*Tirean Saroth
Upon a surreal peak of hourglass shape, connected to other mountains by impossibly graceful stone bridges, lies the city-fortress of Tirean Saroth. The most famous drake-breeders and sky-knights of Tallarn call its heights their home. Under the patronage of the dragon Karnatha, the Thrice-Broken Crescent, an implacable foe of Arcadizar, the riders have been among the staunchest defenders of the western border, and train incessantly for the day they will strike at the heart of the Empire.
Karnatha has found a way to bestow fragments of his essence upon Elves; inside them, the essence proliferates, gradually turning them into winged amalgams of dragon and elf. It is too early to tell how far the changes will go, given the unlimited Elven lifespan.

*The Mother Lode
An exceptionally powerful ley line nexus lies in a sizeable crater filled with a wondrous botanical garden. Elven housing is unobtrusively hidden inside plants shaped by magic. Here, powerful dreaming is given shape in the form of fey and nature spirits, and talented lucid dreamers strive to manifest benevolent fairy creatures and nature elementals. Using the ley lines, the spirits then disperse throughout the world. Guards along the rim cautiously screen comers, so that someone does not unwittingly create a living nightmare.
Elves may or may not be able to control the spirits that arise from their dreaming, and have them do their bidding.

Culture
*Form of Family: there is no family as such in Tallarn – all of a woman’s children stay with her until maturity, regardless of who their father is, and are released to fend for themselves. The bond between mentor and apprentice fluently replaces that between mother and child, and can last for centuries. The allegiance one chooses is as important as family heritage, as the bonds of fealty are regarded as a very serious matter.
*Marriage and Divorce: the quest for one’s complementing half is extremely difficult in Tallarn, for due to some strange genetical twist, fully 85 percent of all children born are male. This may not be obvious to one not familiar with the Elven populace here, for, due to another freak twist in their heritage and hormone levels, almost one half of the men have a fully female appearance despite being functional males (or, you know, this may be a curse, so deeply ingrained in their being that it can't be simply lifted). The Elves term masculine males Kian, and feminine Kianna, while women are referred to as Aroi.
The man to woman ratio has brought up many courting customs. The woman can take her pick of the males vying for her attention, either through showoffs in one of the many contests held, through gaining reputation and social standing or through direct courting including gifts, art dedicated to the chosen lady and quests performed in her favor.
No formal wedding ceremony takes place when the lady has chosen, and no promises are given – the pair are simply lovers for the next few weeks or a century if their feelings run deep and strong. While nothing prevents the woman from granting her favors to more than one man, this can result in bitter rivalry – there are many ballads speaking of such conflicts in Tallarn. The man is also advised to remain true to his lady, for if he drags another into his life he might lose both.
*Women as adventurers: Given their value to the society and their place within, it is considered highly irresponsible if a woman wanders off to risk her life. If the call of adventure is very strong, a Tallarn woman will often do so abroad.
*Government and Structure: each city is headed by a lord and a lady, thought the two need not to have a relationship. The lord’s strength relies on those who have sworn fealty to him, for they are the strength behind his words – it is considered an honor to serve a renowned lord, while having able and famous followers carries a great deal of prestige. Each year, the lords and ladies gather to discuss the matters of the realm, and elect a chairman for that purpose.
If another individual within a city has a retinue similar in size and power to that of the lord, then the ruler would do better to heed his advice lest his city be consumed by an internal power struggle – more than one city has fallen prey to discord within in the history of Tallarn.
*Social Order: while a man’s standing is derived from his abilities, deeds and his loyal core of supporters, women are exempt from this structure, their place within society largely dependent on the post they occupy, but their prestige rising with the number and standing of men they are courted by. An intricate network of loyalties, favors and intrigue determines the politics, often strongly spiced with pride, anger and lust for power.
Rise or descent in the social order is not uncommon, and as the tides of success and favor come and go, so does the social rank.
The duties of men and women are clearly defined – females will assume administrative, cultural, priestly and educative roles, while the men will take care of the manual labor, like farming or the crafts, and warfare. A few trades, like the magical arts, are open to both genders. To tell the truth, with the way the society shields its females from the outer world and the way the men spend their time with work, one of the many struggles or getting killed in some war or other, it is to be doubted if any change of the roles could take place even if the people of Tallarn desired it.
Despite its long cultural heritage, Tallarn is a nation battling constantly – both within and to the outside, and as such it is harsh to members with disabilities – while those wounded or those of lesser ability are cared for and given a place, and orphans allocated to surrogate mothers, those who are permanently marked, crippled or incurably sick are cast out.
*Slavery: while no slaves are actually held in Tallarn, any war captives, defeated political rivals or unfortunate strangers will be readily sold to the next slave trader.

Religion:
*Cosmology and Pantheon: the Elves believe the world to be a disc surrounded by a titanic wyrm K’leth that bites into its own tail, while the heaven is believed to be held up by five great giants. The gods of the Elves number seven – Raiane the Dawnstar – the creator, Geddain the New Moon – the teacher, Smaointe the Ascendant Luna – the leader, Salumnis the Luna in Harmony – the keeper, Dwaione the Descending Luna – the wayfarer, Rathallian the Eveningstar, the master of the gates, and finally Lacra the Empty Sky, the Mistress of the Beyond.
The Elves are thought to have been led to this world and having to leave again when their time is fulfilled – their entire existence being but a voyage, and their deities reflecting this. They believe that they wander from world to world, their souls being cleansed in the fire of creation upon entry. An interesting fact is that humanity has also a place in Elven belief – they are though of a Children of Lacra, meant to be the keepers of a world when the Elves leave. The idea of humankind and the Elven race being so closely related is confirmed by the ease with which the two races interbreed.
The faith is very tolerant of other faiths, yet the Elves of Tallarn know the others are wrong, but will enlighten the misguided only if asked to. Their relation to the Dwarven religion is different – the Elves believe that what the Dwarves claim the truth to be is also based on facts.
*Liturgical Form: the Elves construct great temples of stone where evergreen plants flourish, eternal flames shed light and warmth, melodically tinkling fountains spew forth sparkling water day and night, and a fresh and gentle breeze tells of distant lands and times to all who want to listen.
All temples are attended by a core of priestesses who bring sacrifices of their own lifeblood, their tears and breath. Ceremonies take place according to the phases of the moon, while a morning and evening ceremony is also held. All prayers are sung, the priesthood and the faithful raising their voices in a harmony that resonates within the temple until the next prayer. Those who want to thank, appease or issue a plea to the gods will also be called to sacrifice a drop of their blood or a tear, and will then sing their prayer, their words repeated by all those who concur.
At birth, every child will receive a unique amulet constructed of a pure elemental matrix – most often living flame, wind or waves encased within pure metal, stone or wood. This amulet will be bound to its owner and accompany him for the rest of his life – only when the owner dies will it be recovered and placed within the vaults of the temple, its form never to be repeated until this cycle is complete.
*Magic: almost every Elf is born with the gift of magic, and many legendary mages are of Elven stock, their lifespan allowing them to study the arts to both breadth and depth.
What makes the mages of Tallarn exceptional is their skill at enchanting areas and creating magical beings – they seem to have found a way to channel power into such projects much faster than human mages deem possible.
Most of Tallarn is a normal mana area, but significant patches of the land are filled with high or even very high mana, but this will invariably strongly aspected (favouring certain kinds of sorcery, and hampering others).
*Funerary custom: the dead are cremated and their ashes strewn into one of the many rivers that thunder towards the ocean from the forested heights. On their way many flowers that the relatives, followers and friends cast into the waters will accompany them. When great heroes and leaders of the people pass away, statues and shrines are erected in their honor, and those who aspire to follow in a great one’s steps will bring offerings to his shrine – the treasures assembled at some of the shrines would make many a human noble fade with envy.

*Graphic Art: as a matter of course, all items used will be finely and decently decorated, bearing motifs of legend and history, abstracted feelings put into shapes or a written piece of music.
The wonder of creation is an art form of its own in Tallarn – mages will use their imagination to give form to ethereally fine butterflies, translucent crystal-clear flowers and songs manifested in elemental flame. Others will invent new forms which to take through magic, or weave garments of mist, water and sunrays, or hew statues of incandescent marble or glass. The latter will depict animals and Elves in their prime – the true marvels of creation, appearing as if frozen still but a moment ago, ready to move anytime again.
*Music and Dance: unlike Elven music elsewhere, in Tallarn it takes a dynamic form – it is swift and lively, and can whip itself up to the heights of dynamism, taking on the appearance of a force of nature of its own – during the many parties, celebrations and feasts that take place, the Elves will often dance with superhuman speed and intensity until exhaustion.
With their dances ranging from swift ones with a strong social context resembling tango to artistic exhibitions with strong elements of acrobatics and martial arts, even the most scholarly of Elves will be in top condition.
*Sports and Games: besides the great game of servitude and dominance, honor and shame, renown and oblivion that is played day and night many pastimes are practiced to fill the unending Elven lives – riding, bull dancing as well as taming or wrestling wild and dangerous creatures of sorcery carry much prestige, but mounted team acrobatics are also practiced for the aesthetic effect.
To sublimate the aggressiveness of the men a wide variety of ritual combat takes place – chases, team games or wrestling contests to name but a few. Marathons taking several days herald the start of every season, usually using the route from one sacred site to another and combining riding, running, swimming and archery, along with having to defeat the guardians of certain crossroads, who can be either fellow Elves or mystic beasts.
Tallarn has also much to offer in the area of board games; yet interesting is the fact that these only come in two varieties – fast-paced and simple, or inhumanly complicated.
*Tattoo and scarification: given the fact that an Elf must run around with a tattoo for a very long time, they will be very picky about the artwork they place on their bodies – most often, being invited to tattoo a person means a direct declaration of love, a love so deep that it should never be forgotten. The body art applied will be highly sophisticated, using different colors and being linked to the muscles in the area to make the tattoo come alive – commonly, magic is used in the making of a tattoo. Jewels are sometimes incorporated into a tattoo.
*Housing and architecture: tall and airy are the cities of this ancient realm, shaped of stone, glass and metal, or from leaf, wood and bone. Old masters put all their skills into building structures with loftier balconies, the most slender bridges and most beautiful fountains. Every building will contain countless plants, seemingly unsupported halls, romantic walkways and many pleasant residential rooms. The abundance and beauty of artwork included in each and every house is unparalleled and unrivaled by any metropolis of the human or Dwarven nations, the Elven artists that make them having reached unfathomable heights of their craft.
*Clothing: two distinct styles of dress can be encountered in Tallarn – one is consciously militaristic, with lots of leather, studs and chain mail or plate, meant to enhance the wearer’s manly appearance. The other style of dress is intended to be airy and comfortable, and looking d**n good besides – light robes of colorful silks in conjunction with jewelry in abundance adorn many an Elf – other choices are feathers or living plants. As the weather is pleasant whether summer heralds its arrival or winter is knocking at the door and almost all Elves are mages anyway, the designers are not forced to make the clothes practical, and most often they don’t. Despite this are garments made in Tallarn greatly sought after, for example in Lyra.

*Cooking: the diet consists mostly of fruit and game, but do not let this mislead you – the Elves of Tallarn are no hunter-gatherers. They tend the herds of their wild stock with great care, and most of the woods around their cities are ancient gardens in fact. It is considered a matter of pride not to have any actual agricultural areas in the vicinity of one’s town and yet enjoy a bountiful harvest. The meals tend to be rather light and very intensive in taste.
*Packs and containers: goods will be kept in glass, clay or porcelain containers, while crates or sacks are used for transport.
*Fire making and fuel: Ignite Fire anyone?
*Land transport and mounts: Tallarn is almost devoid of roads – at least none are apparent to a traveler from foreign lands. Therefore, the lightly built Elven steed is the mount of choice – swift and of sure step, it can carry its owner through the most difficult terrain. Other mounts include giant eagles, felines or wolves, while those who manage to tame one will ride a Pegasus or Griffon. Dragons are said to lie dormant beneath the mountains, and one never knows when one of the ancient beasts allows an Elf to mount it.
The cities are connected by a variety of ways – roads hidden by sorcery, caverns both natural and hewn by hand, or simply by permanent Gates, thus allowing instant and unnoticed transport. Carts and wagons are used rarely.
*Ships and boats: from the docks of Tallarn hail long and slender vessels that seem to ride on the wind, gliding above the ocean waves – this can be explained through their gray hulls and incredible speed, or through the fact that they are heavily enchanted, one and all. Though their highly sophisticated rigging placed on two to seven masts would allow them to cruise against the wind, there is most often no need to – it rarely indeed happens that an Elven vessel does not have a fresh breeze letting it surge forward. Bound water and air elementals as well as weather mages stationed on board ensure that all conditions are optimal.
Should a vessel be designed for war, it will carry a ballista or two, their shots guided by enchantment.

*Missile weapons: the art of making composite bows and compound bows is at its pinnacle in Tallarn. Each bow made is unique, custom-fitted to its user and carefully enchanted – this combined with the skill of their users makes them a deadly weapon indeed, both accurate and powerful. Crossbows are rarely used, but if they are, then an Air Golem enchantment will compensate for the rather lacking strength of their users.
*Melee weapons: long, slender lightly curved blades with a single edge are many a warriors companions for life. The quarterstaff is another commonly used weapon, and, expanding upon its qualities, many kinds of shorter pole-arms and spears have been developed. Like the bows, most swords will fit the wielder’s grip perfectly and be carefully balanced, keen of edge and surprisingly sturdy for their bulk.
*Weaponless combat: while the techniques used resemble dance or meditative training to the untrained eye, with hundreds of years to hone their skills many Elves have become true masters of the martial arts. Many of them deem this more a hobby or sport than anything else, but they can be terrifying opponents when provoked. The martial arts generally emphasize speed over strength and guile over force. All martial arts include training in magic both conventional and specialized for the sole purpose of the art, the latter being always-on spells that increase the user’s performance.
*Shields and Armor: soft leather or serpent hide will be the choice for the huntsman or scout, yet in times of war, chain mail or plate will be used, light as a feather and tougher than dragonscale. Exotic materials will be used in the production of high-end armour; the unique creations of Elven armourers are in high demand, yet not readily available.
*Tactics: The Elves will try to disrupt the enemy with magic first, sabotage and skirmish later. If an enemy should prove truly tentative, they will unleash the heavy cavalry and dragons. Their units are trained to the point of perfection, and coordinated by telepathy. Their military efforts are hampered by rivalries between strong individuals and houses, and the occasional outbreak of armed conflict if discord is strong within the army.
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Greetings Traveler / Hello One & All
« Last post by majan on December 08, 2017, 01:30:52 AM »
Hello everyone. I am an old school fan of D&D. I played in the 80s an restarted a little while ago. As soon as I restarted my interest started focusing on creating modules, maps, and other related stuff. I look forward to a long stay here.
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Fields of Challenge / Re: Citadel Epub: Topic/Theme for Issue 5
« Last post by Aramax on December 07, 2017, 10:23:31 AM »
Betrayal and heir loom
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OOC, Starters and Questions / Re: Funny names.
« Last post by Dozus on December 07, 2017, 08:53:01 AM »
There was a very prominent German banking family in the 15th-16th century called the Fuggers. It's pronounced pretty much exactly as it looks. The most famous was Jakob "the Rich" Fugger. When I teach my AP Euro kids about them, no one can stop giggling the whole time.

I'm waiting for questions about Barbara Baesinger-Fugger, the matriarch of the Fugger family. She managed the family business after her husband's death, but did not hand control of finances until her own demise. Which raises the question: Was she one bad mother Fugger?
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Fields of Challenge / Re: Citadel Epub: Topic/Theme for Issue 5
« Last post by Scrasamax on December 07, 2017, 08:39:09 AM »
Voted
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