Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ice, Ice Baby

"There isn't enough life on this ice cube to fill a space cruiser!"
- Han Solo

I am starting a new campaign.  A mini-campaign of sorts.  The plan would be to play once a week for two college semesters.  I would go back and play with my friends still in school (since work and school are so close).

Back when I was still in school, we played for the second semester and explored various areas of one region in the Campaign World I created with some friends.  My main campaign has been playing around Genkar, and the old college one was in Noi-Ess, but I think the name of that region will be changing shortly (just never really cared for the name).

This new campaign though will take place in a  region I have yet to explore: the frozen north, on the continent of Vellyn.

Vellyn is so far north that there is only a period of two weeks out of the year when ships can enter and leave the continent.  After that, the ice is too thick, which makes it impossible for ships to traverse.  In recent years, a few airships have been able to fly supplies in, but the pilots willing to make the journey are few and far between.  The only trees that grow in Vellyn are pines, which are sparsely spread across the hills and snowy plains.

At the south of the continent (where all ships and airships tend to land) is a small village called Tilch.  It lies at the foot of the Frostbyte Mountains (as called in the Common tongue) off the ice covered bay.  The phrase "We take of our own" is a way of life there, as the entire community has to band together in order to survive.  This includes sending out scouting parties for those that go missing in the wilds to a rotation of various day to day activities that need to be done.

The village of Tilch
 Little is known of the background of all those that dwell in Tilch.  In the southern continents, it is often remarked that Vellyn is a place where one who does not wish to be found goes.  The villagers of Tilch never question those that live with them.  Life before Tilch doesn't matter; surviving on Vellyn is all that is important.

The history of Vellyn is surrounded in legend, with very little written history having been recorded.  It is known that the war between the gods and Khala, goddess of winter, had many large battles on the continent.  Khala attempted, in her vanity and pride, to cover the entire world in endless winter and claim dominion over everything.  She created the yetis as her soldiers, large powerful creatures adept at surviving in the harsh winter landscapes.  Legend says that she transformed some of her enemies into great beasts, known simply as the Makta'Khala, Khala's monsters in the Common tongue.  With her followers and her creatures, she sought to re-make the world in the image she desired.  The remaining gods banded together and defeated her.  To this day, that conflict is simply called the War of Winter.  It ended with Khala being cast down by the Raven Queen, who then took her title as goddess of winter.
After the War, the gods retreated to their realms, having been driven out by the Primal Spirits.  The Spirits of the natural world keep much of it in harmony, and it is rarely that the gods are able to directly manifest in the world without permission from the spirits, or through disguise and subterfuge.

As snow and ice buried relics of the War, the frost giants and titans began to take over the continent, dwelling in the mountains.  Those that still remained in the lands soon learned that the giants could be appeased/traded with, though they were still known for their violence and cruelty.  As time went on, Giant became the primary language used (though many still speak Common).

Many also believe that the Frostbyte Mountains were one of the locations where the great ice primordial Cryonax battled with his enemies, before eventually being imprisoned.  This tale was passed down from the frost titans, and many followers of Cryonax still hold the continent of Vellyn as sacred, looking to find secrets and items of power that Cryonax left behind.

Those that immigrated to Vellyn eventually learned that in order to survive, they needed to band together.  Not wanted to miss the others who were coming to join them, they built the village of Tilch.  A ring of torches lines the village, with large fires lit at night to keep away predators such as yetis and other monsters that prowl the wastelands.  It also serves as a beacon to explorers and wanderers making their way back to the sanctuary of the settlement through the cold, dangerous night.

Those wandering the snowy wastes must always be aware of other creatures about.  The Makta'Khala have hunters and scouts everywhere, always hoping to feast on explorers.  Their attacks have been coming closer and closer to Tilch lately, leading many to speculate that there is a new, more daring tribe, or that all the tribes have been united by a new, powerful Makta'Khala chief.

While the Makta'Khala prey on humanoids, they fear the yetis over all other creatures.  Though the Makta'Khala are more intelligent that these beasts, the yetis are far stronger and move silently through their snowy homelands.  Hunters from Tilch typically wear yeti pelts when hunting, in order to deter Makta'Khala attacks.

Two Makta'Khala patrol the snowy wastes
Yetis are unpredictable.  Sometimes they hunt in packs, and sometimes they are encountered alone.  They typically do not attack unless hungry or threatened.  Many explorers have noted that if they try to avoid the yeti, the creatures typically pass by.  However, there are rumors of a yeti king, known for its aggressiveness.  Dead yetis have been found with evidence that seems to suggest they were killed by another yeti.  The yeti king has yet to be seen, but on certain moonless nights, its howl has been heard, echoing off the mountains.

Hope everybody is excited to get more information about Vellyn.  I cannot wait for this campaign to start!  Special thanks to my friends Robyn and P@, who have always been a part of creating this world so many years ago.  As always, leave your comments below and be sure to follow me on Twitter @artificeralf