Thursday, August 30, 2018

Cinderheim Overview

Art by Michael Gibbons
The Cinderheim book/pdf is coming soon, but what's it all about?

Cinderheim is a large desert on the wild continent of Hygaea that was created by a forgotten magical catastrophe. The desert of Cinderheim is suffused with demonic corruption—the land itself is tainted by an unbroken connection to the Abyssal Disunion.

An unrelenting, demonic sun beats down on the arid dunes of Cinderheim, making it the hottest place in the world. Despite being a largely barren wasteland, the desert is a dangerous refuge for outcasts, barbarians, the desperate, and the depraved.

The population of Cinderheim centers around seven oases within the desert that provide potable water and stable agricultural production. Each oasis is under the control of a warlord and their band of warriors. Life under the aegis of a desert warlord sometimes approaches serfdom for the people of Cinderheim, but each warlord provides protection and a degree of security. All seven oases boast permanent encampments that create a microcosm of civilization within the desert wastes—life inside the fortified walls of an oasis encampment is the safest bet for the people who live in Cinderheim.

Each of the seven warlords has been drawn to Cinderheim for their own obscure purposes. None of the warlords is content to rule over their singular fiefdom only; each dreams of overcoming the others and wresting control of their oasis encampments. Thus far the warlords have only engaged each other in minor skirmishes amid the dunes, but it is only a matter of time before the seven lords of Cinderheim wage war against each other under the cruel rays of the merciless sun.

Each of the oasis encampments is named after the demon lord or queen it venerates. The demons of Cinderheim offer prosperity and the continued flow of life-sustaining water from the oases’ springs and wells. However, unbeknownst to the people of the permanent encampments, each demon uses its influence to push Cinderheim closer to bloody conflict.

Each of the seven warlords of Cinderheim has fallen under the corrupting influence of the demon lord or demon queen who is imprisoned beneath the encampment they rule:

Andastros Qualenethi, elven war criminal.
Encampment: Koraaz, the false democracy.
Demon lord: Raaz, the Praetor of Slaughter.

Tenoch the Devourer, mantisfolk barbarian.
Encampment: Zulot, the savage hive.
Demon lord: Zulor, the Red Hunger.

Mama Lesedi Gheda, aasimar priestess.
Encampment: Yazaan, the cult compound.
Demon queen: Yaza, the Mad Queen.

Amuneta the Liberator, half-orc agitator.
Encampment: Narak, the abject haven.
Demon queen: Narah, the Breaker of Bonds.

Hamada the Reaver, gnoll military strategist.
Encampment: Yrkala, the desert barracks.
Demon queen: Yrkali, the Demon Conquistadora.

Niu Bo Wei, hobgoblin “Prince of Pleasure.”
Encampment: Thanorek, the den of vice.
Demon lord: Thanor, the Emperor of Excess.

Grand Magus Toman Dak, oni warlock.
Encampment: Druuz’Ket, the divided camp.
Demon lord: Druuz, the Hoarder of Secrets.

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More information on Cinderheim already on the blog:

The Demon Lords and Queens of Cinderheim
Niu Bo Wei, the Hobgoblin Opium King
Hamada, the Reaver of Cinderheim
Mama Lesedi Gheda, the Cult Leader of Cinderheim

* * *

Cinderheim: The Land Under the Demon Sun was originally a self-set challenge on two fronts:

  • I wanted to try to do a setting based on "personalities" that shape the campaign, ala the original Ravenloft boxed set, but in a way that works.
  • I wanted the project to be no longer than a 'zine.

I think I was successful on the first count, but the project grew on my hands and currently sits at 44 pages of content--too big for Drivethru's saddle-stitched format. I'm fine with that; there isn't a page in it that I'd feel comfortable deleting. Expect Cinderheim to be on sale within the next two weeks.