Taronia is a small nation, one nestled in the lush hills and valleys of the southern continents, whose gentle rivers and rolling fields provide for the sustenance of the people with little labor. As such, this has always been a larger than average number in the 'idle' classes, and for centuries, they have largely turned their minds to the arts and to scholarly pursuits. Here, the fields of Theology, Thaumaturgy, Physicks, and Alchemie are studied and understood as no other. And chief amoungst all the learned people of the world has always been the King of Taronia, who sets aside his own name to become Corleone, the continuation of the first king of Taronia. For three centuries now, the Lord Corleone has been the arbiter of peace throughout the lands, the head of the illustrious Council of Kings, that body which settles so many of the issues which would otherwise lead to war.
Yet, all has changed. Last summer, Lord Corleone addressed the Council of Kings, and declared that the Gods themselves had made a revelation to him. He would become Overking of all the world, the divinely ordained ruler of all. The Council was immediately split, between those who would obey, and those who would fight to retain their independence. And it was with a wicked grin that Corleone sent away the kings who would rebel from him, telling them, 'Keep them then, if you can. For I shall be the Immortal Possessor of ALL, and not a thing within this mortal world is strong enough to stop me from coming to claim the world.'
And so, they returned to their homes, and called forth their cabinets and councils and knights, for the banners would be raised once more. War had come.Significant NPCs & Their Kingdoms
Corleone XXIV, Emperor of Taronia
Once renowned the world over for his fairness, for his wisdom, and for his quick wit, the newly styled Emperor Corleone and his nation have slowly changed in recent years, both man and countrymen having turned their eyes from the books and from the heavens to the mortal, material realm. Always high, the taxes of Taronia have become oppressive, and he has come to demand tribute from the nations that lie underneath his thumb as well.
Physically, Emperor Corleone XXIV is a short, broad man. Never one for physical excercise, he had always been a soft, but handsome, figure, but of late, he has begun to grow, and not in an upwards direction. While he is still clean, generally, the man can be plainly described as fat, and his face was the first thing to go. He has become quick of temper, demanding instant obedience to his frequently obscene whims, while those nearest him describe his newfound zeal as a haunted, desperate hunger.
Even as his hungers have increased, however, so have his mystical abilities. Always a potent mage, and competant divine spell caster, his powers of late have surged, though strangely away from the typical gifts of the Goddess of the Art, the nominal state religion of Taronia. Rather than potent divinations and metamagics, it seems the man has developed a flair for magics of emotion and desire.
Many a rumor abounds of the reason for his 'fall' from grace, and some of them are even correct.
King Leonides II, King of Esteov
Leonides, one of the last to join the Council of Kings, is a warrior-king, tall of body, broad of shoulder, and strong of arm. While his mind is firm, and the man has been widely acknowledged throughout the world as a premier strategist, Leonides had, long ago, acknowledged that Corleone was the wiser monarch. Moreover, fifteen years ago, Corleone aided the warrior-king in averting the widespread starvation that would have followed in the wake of a terrible drought in Esteov, and ever since, Leonides has felt a strong loyalty to the older monarch. Among the people of Esteov, the debts of honor have a great weight, and their king is no exception.
Truly believing that the world would be better off under the leadership of Corleone, Leonides has thrown his lot in with the would be emperor of the world, leading the conquering armies from the front, leaving the administration of his kingdom to (mostly) competent ministers in his stead.
Perfectly happy to enter battle on the front lines, believing that only example can inspire courage, Leonides fights as a mid or high level fighter.
Keloran the Silver, Plutarch of Althan
The head of the Plutocracy of a single city-state, Keloran the Silver holds vast personal wealth, and like his fellow council-men, he sees a great deal of possible profit for himself and his city of tradesmen. He fully intends to stir the pot the best he can, to profit off the sales through both sides, but if pressed, he may choose to fall to the side of Corleone.
Keloran's power comes solely from his wealth and persuasive ability. He will not enter combat himself, but rather, he will throw away mercenaries while he makes his own escape, and he has no character class of his own.
Servus IV, Arch-Bishop of Ignus
The Archbishop is both the temporal and spiritual head of the nation of Ignus, followers of the Holy Twins, Solara and Lunist, who are said rule the sun and moon, and all that they shine down upon. To him, the arrived conflict is a matter of religious faith - The Unbelievers cannot be allowed dominion over the Realm of the Twins.
Still, the Archbishop's zeal is reasoned and his doctrine well founded. He is an accomplished leader of men, with a powerful personal charisma, only reinforced by his reputation as a wise and generally benevolent holy man. Strongly blessed by the Twin Gods, he is one of the world's stronger divine casters, and many of those who can match him are his own bishops.
Union Chief Konzo
Konzo Goldscrabbler is the nominal spokesman of the mountain clans of the God's Spine Mountains. He is a short, gnarled figure, his skin stained black with dirt and soot, and on the few occasions that he chooses to gather with the other monarchs, he has always seemed nervous, as well he should be. Many of his 'subjects' are wanted criminals in other lands, their semi-communal mines and refineries a last chance haven for the outcast of society. He speaks for them only because to do otherwise would admit the power of other nations over the God's Spine.
Konzo Goldscrabbler has chosen to throw his lot in with the resistance, for promises that the Mountains, and some small portions of arable land will be given to the miners on victory. Whether or not this will ever happen, only the Gods know. If cornered, Konzo will fight as a low level rogue.
Torgok II, Chief of Chiefs, High Lord of Gorn
An impressive specimen of an orc, Torgok is the nominal head of the Confederation of Gorn, the badlands beyond the God's Spine. Here, in the vicious deserts that humans find too inhospitable, many of the less organized races have pitched their tents, occasionally sallying out in raids. Realizing that Corleone will crush his nation underfoot in the future, Torgok has used every bit of his wile and cunning to convince the other tribes and clans of the badlands to help the 'Accursed Twins' and their nation of Ignus in resisting Corleone.
Much like Leonides, though he would sooner die than admit it, honor and courage are of the greatest import to Torgok, and he, too, leads from the front, a whirlwind batter the way for his troops. Torgok should fight as a fighter of the same level as Ignus.
Finally, the lands of some of the tribes that Torgok leads abut up against the Desert of Divine Despair. Some of his warriors have been mutated by the hellish powers of that place, and may be the most terrifying things on the field at any given time.
These are, of course, only a small selection of the most visible men of the leadership. Many other nations, great and small, are aligned to their own ends on either side.
Taking place in the same world, The Shards of the Storm should be available, though any number of them may have been discovered and artificed at this point in time. The recreation of Monsoon and Typhoon may be required for the ragged coalition forces to fight Corleone, for he possesses one of:
Greed, Lust, and Pride
The three great gems upon the terrible crown of the Mad God of Desire, they fell to the ground of the Desert when He and the Storm Queen made war upon Each Other. For many miles, each flew before it fell, making a terrible mark upon the world where they landed, striking with all the force of a falling star, before the world itself rejected them. Thus sealed away, they were forgotten for aeons, lost to fragments of myth.
Corleone's men discovered the first of these seals during a routine excavation, a terrible blackness, the night sky held in a hole in the ground. A quick conference of the high mages of Taronia, and the king himself came to investigate this strangeness. Muttering incantations, he thrust his hand into the dimensional prison of the gem, and drew it forth, revealing the pulsating, sickly blue glow of Greed. He did not know what it was, at first, but he desired it, and none here could deny it to their king. Many an hour he spent caressing the gem, until the idea of mounting it upon his crown came to him, where it could always light the path to acquisition for him.
Each of the three Gems is a fragment of the Mad Lord of Desire and Want, and each uniquely drives the holder with the essence of that fragment. Greed drives the need for acquisition of things and power within the man, Lust drives the desire to take and to use women, men, and objects, while Pride banishes guilt and sets one over all others in their mind. So too, does each of the three gems grant power to persuade, to steal, to take, to degrade others, each in proportion to how far the bearer has fallen down their path.
Finally, Greed, Lust and Pride call out to each other, driving the bearer to accumulate all three, so that the Mad God may once more have a true conduit into the world once more. Corleone certainly seeks to become this conduit, but one must ask if it's even his own idea...
It is early in the war. There are thusly, many paths that any particular adventuring party may use to influence the war.
The lowest level of party is likely to be used by a higher personality, perhaps a duke, lieutenant or bishop, as, well, lackies or flunkies. Messages need delivered, minor artifacts need recovered, retainers need muscled into line, et cetera. An adventure such as Jada's Journey may be used to bring them into contact with important people in the capital.
As well, the enemy's war efforts need to be undermined, and the lowest level adventurer may be well suited it. Gorn, in particular, will be sensitive to raids on his rear lines, while Althan may be neutralized by conspiracy and scheming.
Here, as the efforts of the party are more powerful, more worthy deeds are required, in addition to many of the functions of the lower party. Assassinations and seeking the gems of the Crown of Avarice or the Shards of the Storm may become highly important. Party members may be asked to infiltrate and spy upon the enemy, perhaps even serving as double agents. Alternately, the party may be asked to raid supply depots, to fight with a given company, and so forth.
High level characters will, most certainly, be sought out in order to serve as officers. They are highly likely to be expected to find and, further, deploy powerful artifacts against the foe.
The hosts have gathered, legions eye barbarians across a barren field, the generals stab daggers into their maps, the WAR QUEST has arrived.
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? Responses (11)
I like this.
This is a neat world and the gems are really interesting, but I love your NPCs and thier kingdoms above all, this could be the start of a really great campaign
Also, the way you have the roles PCs would have, based on level is spot on
Corleone sounds a bit familiar. :)
One has to wonder if the king's change didn't produce a resistance in his own country... which will have to be battled, or supported depending on which side one is.
It is not much suprising, but has enough small details to build upon, and the links to other submissions are also well considered. And for some weird reason I like 'Union Chief Konzo'.
A really worthwhile adventure framework. Each of the plot's components could be used seperately to add to a campaign; together they frame out the leadership of a whole region. Corleone and the others were each well-depicted, with realistic motivations.
I particularly liked the jewels of the Mad God of Desire. They vaguely reminded me of the Silmarils or the One Ring of Sauron: Superhuman magic that cannot be resisted by mortal bearers. We've seen items of their type before, but they were presented well.
The depiction is painted in broad strokes, roughly filling in a massive conflict: Follow-up submissions that focus on a smaller scale would be worth seeing.
I do like the world-encompassing nature of this conflict, but I think that for a truly great sub you need to add more detail about the nations and the important people within them. Perhaps, you could start a scroll and let people brainstorm about various aspects of the war, in line with what Wulfhere wrote.
The only thing I didn't like was that the king's name was... Corleone?!
I'm all for the Godfather, but not in my fantasy, thank you.
A good solid setting.
I would agree on the name (unless the intention was to be silly - which this piece patently is not..) but it is a solid canvas to build upon.
I ALSO have a strange fascination with Union Chief Konzo. The other names, as has been mentioned, leave a bit to be desired. The piece itself, is quite interesting however! (names can be changed). Nice structure too. Easy and fun to read.
Also, what Jarons said. And finally, great title, Dawn of Avarice!
Wont let me vote! wait, I am out of votes for today. Wow, that doesnt happen to me often.
My first reaction to the name 'Corleone' involved visions of Marlon Brando making the player characters 'an offer they can't refuse', but I liked the rest of the sub enough, I decided to ignore that.
If Corleone doesn't work for you, you could analyse its meaning (Heart of Lion or Lionheart) to come up with a variation suitable for your game: King Cour d'Leon or King Lionheart would be apropos names for a monarch.
or Leonides even, Son of Lion. :)
.... Yeah, I TOTALLY forgot that name was used by something people would remember. Too bad.