Monday, January 25, 2016

Krevborna: Building an Open-Table Setting

Since I want to run an open-table, episodic style of game, I thought I'd make a new setting to match the goals I expressed here. A lot of this stuff is recycled from my Arksylvania campaign, but there were world-building elements there that don't fit what I want to do in gaming right now.

I asked around for the bare-minimum people want out of setting information, and the consensus seems to be that you need three things: places with potential as adventure locations, NPCs with schemes and job that adventurers could do, and factions whose plans the PCs will inevitably get tangled up in. 

Here's what I'm working with right now with Krevborna:

Locations of Note
The scent of incense hangs heavy in the air of Chancel, a city that is at once a den of immoral decadence and religious fanaticism. Although Chancel is under the theocratic rule of Brother Lazarus and the Church of Saintly Blood, raucous taverns, brothels, opium dens, and music halls abound. The tension between the saints and sinners of Chancel is palpable.

Creedhall is a melancholic town governed by Proselyte Wolfstan. It is home to the renowned Creedhall University, which is said to possess a vast library of obscure and forbidden tomes. Creedhall is situated on the shore of Loch Riven, a lake whose depths sometimes disclose strange shapes and hideous portents on nights of the full moon.

It is rumored that a school of black magic is hidden within the Nachtmahr Mountains.

Avoided by god-fearing folk, the mining town of Hemlock has abandoned the Church of Saintly Blood to follow vile pagan ways. Hemlock's most powerful family, the Graymalks, are rumored to practice the darkest arts of witchcraft and to have made pacts with the Devil. Seances are a popular pastime for Hemlock's prosperous citizens.

Ruled by the vampire Countess Alcesta von Karlok, Lamashtu is a cold northern realm where the populace must pay their undead sovereign a tithe in blood. Despite the obvious horrors of this kingdom, the court of Castle Lamashtu attracts artists and writers who find undeath to be aesthetically inspiring.

Piskar is a salt-blasted canal town, a center of thriving maritime trade, and a haven for pirates. Although it is governed by the Brine Priest of the Church of Saintly Blood, grave heresies are thought to have taken root in Piskar. A series of brutal murders has troubled the town in recent years; it is believed that these murders have occult significance.

Though sublimely beautiful, the Silent Forest is haunted by unnameable monstrosities.

Although it was set ablaze to purge it of evil, the forbidden town of Veil is still home to the desperate and depraved.

Ancient catacombs deep within the earth, the Hypogeal Tombs are the remains of a civilization that predates the rise of man.

Famed Personages
Almeric Dalloway is the captain of the Sacred Butchers. He desires vengeance against Countess Alcesta for murdering his mentor Leonidas Mayhew.

Eurania Linton is an aged but still formidable bounty hunter who hails from foreign lands.

Now bound to a wheelchair due to horrific injuries, Galenus Wright gives sage advice about hunting the forces of darkness to those who visit his workshop in Chancel.

Granvile Fray is a hunter of lycanthropes with a known passion for music.

Isoline Josefson is a young plague doctor who runs the Andronicus Asylum in Chancel where the afflicted often find solace.

Brooding twin sisters of pale aspect, Pandora and Morrigan Rue dress in the manner of Lamashtu noblewomen. They sometimes hire adventurers for inscrutable investigations.

The Choristers are the elite upper echelon of the Church of Saintly Blood. They control Church doctrine and believe that the human condition is something to be transcended through the consumption of sanctified holy blood.

Sworn to the service of Countess Alcesta, the Knights of Lilith scour the world to find the one who will help the Countess to conceive her deathless child.

The Incendiary Guild are an order of wild and romantic inventors who share the goal of pushing science beyond the boundaries of rational thought.

The League of Rat-Catchers believe that to fight beasts one must become a beast; they consume vermin both mundane and unnatural to gain their power.

The Promethean Sparks are a cabal of scholars who hope to discover the secret of giving life to inanimate matter.

The Sacred Butchers are a group of templars associated with the Church of Saintly Blood pledged to purge the world of the undead. Their goal is the destruction of Lamashtu and the execution of Countess Alcesta.

A militarized branch of the Church of Saintly Blood, the Luminous Hunters act as witchfinders, inquisitors, and crusaders.

The White Ravens are a loose guild of investigators, bounty hunters, and—some say—assassins.

* * *

Some notes on religion
One thing I'm doing with Krevborna is having the central religion be one that venerates a multitude of saints. What this means in terms of playing convenience is that players bringing in characters from other campaigns can discover that their character's religion fits into the syncretic faith of Krevborna.