Life in Geburah (Age of Titans Supplement)
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The central idea of an Age of Titans game is variety. Therefore nothing in here will tell you specifically what life in the continent of Geburah and its surrounding islands is like (except for the sample cultures, which need not be adopted as is), but it will give you a formula for creating a campaign within that continent that allows for nearly any imaginable scenario. That said, this campaign setting was designed with a particular type of play in mind. It is intended to be a mature setting, dealing with concepts and issues beyond those of most published settings, such as slavery, drugs, race/sex relations, and so on. These factors can be ignored if a lighter game is desired, but they were kept in mind during the world's development. A feeling this setting was also going for was one of smallness of the PC's; the world is infinitely large (including the outer planes), mysterious, and inhabited by beings immensely more powerful than mortals. This is why the story of how this world came into being and what the ultimate truth about Heaven and Hell and magic are and so on is not revealed in these articles: those are things the characters, or any other mortals, will simply never know. The scope of the players is intended to be smaller, which brings us to the basic unit of this setting:
The basic unit is not country or region but culture. Each region has within it multiple cultures characterized by their language, religion, currency, race, and other distinctions. The regions are designed to maximize variety of cultures. There is only a very scant global history, although each culture will have its own legends. Even the way magic is performed and learned should bear some cultural distinction. There is no universal currency or language, but thanks to the influence of the Gardonian Adventurer's Guild, the Gardonian language is common in almost any major city and any local currency can be exchanged into Gardonian copper, silver, gold, and platinum pieces, and vice-versa for guild members.
Creating a Culture
Cultures develop by virtue of having certain things in common. Each culture therefore evolves an identity regarding those elements. What they have in common varies from culture to culture, but there are certain elements which should be taken into account when creating any culture:
Race: To what extent is the culture racially based and which races are typically members?
Language: What language(s) do members of this culture speak?
Religion: What religion(s) do members of this culture subscribe to? (see Religion below)
Style: What do crafts, architecture, etc have in common in this culture?
Morality: Does this culture favor any particular alignments or any other ethical attitudes?
Naturally there is much more to a culture than these elements, and some of these elements may not be important to some cultures. In general the procedure used to create a culture is to know what sort of ambiance you seek to achieve in your game and design elements around that. Naturally cultures which are nearby or which share key elements will be similar. The inspiration for each of the seven major regions (see below) serve as broad guidelines for what cultures will be like in those regions. Not all cultures need everything spelled out. Usually a general sense for what a culture is like can suffice, and details (currency, gender roles, etc) can be improvised as needed.
Sample Culture: Human Andelot culture
Andelot is a kingdom to the northeast in the land of Relme. Relme is a low-magic area, so Andelot shares with the rest of Relme a low prevalence of magic users. Clerics are relatively common, but their function as magic users and adventurers is mostly subsumed by their role as facilitators of religious ceremony. Although Relme is made up of a variety of a kingdoms, the church of Kathol (a dualist religion) exerts major influence on every kingdom except Andelot. Andelot is unique in that respect. Hundreds of years ago, a king of Andelot broke from the church of Kathol under what he believed was guidance directly from the God of Heaven. He established a seperate church, almost identical to the church of Kathol, except that the King of Andelot would be the leading religious figure, rather than the Pope of Kathol. The culture of Andelot is very racist, favoring humans and elves over all other races. It has good relations with dwarves and gnomes, but views them as relatively inferior, and believes even that the humans and elves of Andelot are superior to humans and elves elsewhere. The culture of Andelot is very opposed to orcs, goblins, giants, and any other race or derivative of a race which is typically evil. The official policy of the kingdom of Andelot is that such races are inherently evil and should be destroyed wherever they are found. Human Andelot culture is also sexist; it does not allow women to bear any political power and tends to look down on women in other spheres. Andelot uses a currency similar to Gardonian coinage, but the denominations are much more complicated and usually base 12 rather than 10. Humans in Andelot generally speak Angletan, though local dialects of other races, Gardonian, and the languages of neighboring countries can be found as well. Generally, Andelot is a poor and dirty country with a corrupt religious and political life, even though most of its inhabitants are good.
Sample Culture: Elven Solastrían culture
Like the other islands of Adáko, Solastrí is predominantly Toaist. The particular type of Taoism practiced on the island of Solastrí is the teachings of Unshartan. Unshartan taught that tradition and learning is to be the foremost basis of morality. Solastrí is predominantly human, but Adákan elves are relatively common there as well. Compared to human Solastrían culture, the elven culture is far more influenced by the general elven culture of Adáko than that of the humans (more mystical and elitist). Other races on Solastrí (goblins, etc) have their own distinct culture. There is strict division between the sexes in elven Solastrían culture, and women are typically thought of as slightly superior. Men and women are educated seperately and usually pursue different classes, with men usually being craftsmen, traders, shugenja (clerics), monks, or rogues and women usually being artists, aristocrats, wu jen (wizards/sorcerers), or bards. The other classes are shared between the sexes relatively equally. Men usually shave their heads or, in some monasteries, their whole bodies and wear clothes that cover as much as possible. Women do not shave anywhere on their bodies and wear clothes which reveal their backs, on which they often bear tattoos of their choice. Solastrían art, crafts, and architecture is predominantly woodwork which is etched with legends and other stories. Like all of Adáko, the predominant language on Solastrí is common (Adáko), though elven (Adáko) is frequently spoken between elves. Toaists of Unshartan heavily ritualize daily life, include food preparation and consumption, courting and marriage, and daily interactions with others. Gold is extremely scarce in Adáko, and so gems are used as currency. The elves of Adáko have tan skin, except that about one in every sixteen is born with blue skin; this gives them no racial differences other than in appearance, but these rare 'blue elves' are believed by the other races in Adáko to be more mysterious and mystical.
Sample Culture: Gardonian Tribal Orc Culture
The orcs in Gardonia harbor a deep hatred for elves and humans, but they also exhibit a pride in their own heritage and culture. Like most in Gardonia, orcs are usually pantheists, favoring cults to evil gods. They believe that the orcs were some of the original inhabitants of this region, and that elves moved from elsewhere and soon after brought humans and dwarves who stole their land and turned it into walled cities and paved roads. The realm now known as Gardonia then was united under an evil emporer who employed orcs and their kin as bodyguards and brute squads, creating a culture of middle-class urban orcs, but upon the fall of that empire, the jobs orcs filled largely disappeared or were filled by others, leaving the city-dwelling orcs poor and mostly confined to walled ghettos and forced to keep papers indicating their identity whether or not they have committed any crimes. Tribal orcs use no currency, preferring to barter. They are polygamous and extremely sexist. Usually orc men do not mate, except during raids when they are free to rape, but the leaders keep large harems of orc women, often shaved, chained, and kept naked, and from that harem they populate their tribe. Leadership changes often, but this system nonetheless sometimes results in incestuous relations between a leader and an older daughter of one of his 'wives'. Because Gardonia is a good kingdom, it is illegal to kill anyone, including orcs, without good cause, but local law enforcement often turns a blind eye when this happens, and so occasionally raids by a orc tribes on some helpless town populated by other races results in a series of random murders of orcs or attacks on orc tribes by other local towns or cities and those rare decent orcs who have done no harm receive no legal recourse. This often results in more hatred for the humans who rule Gardonia, more raids, and the cycle of violence goes on endlessly. This culture speaks Orcish (Gardonian) but each tribe does so with a slightly different vocabulary as it adopts terminology from other local languages. Tribal leaders and a few members of the tribe will also speak Common Gardonian.
Spoken Languages: Because Geburah represents a vast area and lacks significant centralizing institutions, languages vary greatly. The Supernatural Languages (DnD Variant Rule) is used by default, which means that no common language exists, and languages from outside of one's region are difficult to learn. For simplicity, it's best to use the standard languages, but append to them their scope. For example, the language of the humans in Valus is laithan, but since this is the most common language in that area, it can simply be called Common (Valus). Other languages can be handled similarly: Elven (Valus), Orc (Valus), Undercommon (Valus), and so on. Also, thanks to the Gardonian Adventurer's Guild (see below) the Gardonian common tongue is spoken by at least a few people in nearly every major city.
Dead Languages: There are a few dead languages from the ages of old: Antiochan (from the ancient western kingdom of Antioch), Gorgan (from the eastern dead empire of Morgul), Aramach (from the lands of Relme prior to the Church of Kathol), Old Elvish (from the first elves), and Archaen (the oldest known human language which is the precursor of Antiochan and Gorgan).
Supernatural Languages: As per the Supernatural Languages (DnD Variant Rule), languages like draconic, abyssal, celestial, and so on do not vary, but cannot be learned by normal means.
Live Currency: Like spoken languages, currencies vary greatly. It's best to use the same rules for currency as for language: if treasure is found in anything other than Gardonian currency (gp, sp, etc) just use the amount in Gardonian currency and append the region. For example: 200 gp (Valus). This can be exchanged for Gardonian currency for free at Adventurer's Guild offices (see below), and so in most cases, even this step can be ignored.
Doubloons: The term 'doubloon' in Age of Titans refers to rare coins worth more than marked on the coin. This usually refers to currency from some dead nation. However, in some cases, doubloons are specially minted for political transactions, and as these are not supposed to leave the treasuries of their recipients, they are also worth more. Treat them as a type of 'gem' when dealing with treasure.
This campaign setting makes use of Expanded Religions (3.5e Variant Rule). The most important religions in particular areas are spelled out in those areas' articles, but variety of religions is such that if a character is not interested in the most common religions, they should be encouraged to create their own, more local religion, using the variant rule.
The Gardonian Adventurer's Guild
History: The vast kingdom of Gardonia began as an evil empire, but lasted less than 50 years before the emporer died and his son was overthrown. At that point it became a good kingdom, but one with few resources at first, and for that reason the Gardonian Adventurer's Guild was founded to train and arm those who would be willing to hunt out and destroy the remaining evil influences within the kingdom. As the guild grew and its enemies waned, its purpose expanded to include adventurers and travelers of all sorts. Now the guild has offices in nearly every major city where it exchanges money and information for guild members. The offices typically double as inns as well.
Guild Membership: To become a member one need merely sign the contract and pay dues. The dues include a one-time membership fee of 25 gold pieces and then 15 gold pieces a month. For this guild members can be housed at guild offices for a limited time for free when available and have money changed at any office for free. If dues are not payed, there is no penalty, other than lack of access to services until the full balance has been payed. If one does not pay dues for more than a year, their name is sticken from the list of guild members until they choose to rejoin.
Other Information: The guild is housed in Eoden Falls, the capital of Gardonia. Dues all go there and payment comes from there, usually by magical means. In addition to joining the guild, an adventurer may list a specific occupation. Some examples of occupations include: bodyguard, sailor, mercenary, burglar, hunter (dragons, undead, aberrations, etc.), or virtually anything else. The guild can help members with a specific occupation to find others with the same occupation or find jobs specific to their chosen occupation.