Welcome to Landing
[note: this is our introductory information for this campaign. Our process usually starts a fair amount of time ahead of actually starting play with several email exchanges with world info, background on races, politics, calendars, magical systems, religions and the like. As we begin to put our characters together, we often have a few rounds of in-character exchanges, where players get to know the characters better, and find out which ones may know each other in game already.]
Michael and Cat will co-GM this campaign. Please make sure to send any private questions to both of us.
Characters are built on 130 pts. In addition to your character sheet we need a rough background for your character including why you are in Landing, what family or other ties your character has, and your character’s goals and dreams. We realize that much of this will develop in play, but we do need a rough idea before play can begin.
We are scheduled to start in Landing on March 25th. We do need your character concepts and at least a first draft peek at them by the previous gaming session (March 10th I believe). As soon as we have the party break down we’ll send out some personal background info to each character.
GEOGRAPHY AND ECONOMICS
Landing is a small, western coastline city in the King’s Reaches. It is large enough to support a fair bit of diversity, but not so large as to house a large criminal section.
Geographically, Landing is the largest seaport on the western coast of the Reaches. About 20 miles north of town is a Kings Border Guard garrison (made up primarily of King’s Guard officers and a combination of conscripts and volunteers from Landing). This garrison guards the border wall that marks the beginning of the land held by the barbarian Cos’n (pronounced co-zin) to the north. There is another Kings Border Guard garrison on the eastern end of the wall just north of the city North Point, the northern most point of theFreeCoaststrip of the eastern coastline. These garrisons are separated by about 40 miles. The border spans a narrow strip of land between two major inlets. This region is called The Girdle of Mamnon. Travel across the Girdle is done nearly within sight of the border the entire way due to the prominent bog that makes up most of the land to the south. The bog effectively divides the regions that claim the two cities, leaving Landing nearly isolated on a peninsula that extends south and south-west of the city. There is a single overland trade route to the rest of the reaches. Most of the region’s trade is managed through shipping.
South of the Girdle, the Reaches widens on the eastern side of the bog. The land is fertile and arable if a bit rocky and exposed to the wind. Several miles south of Landing the countryside is dotted with farms.
About an hour outside of the city on the coastline to the west is thetempleofMamnon. Landing hosts one of the goddess’s major temples in the Reaches. The temple hosts regular services at every new moon as well as several major festivals a year. While regular attendance is not mandatory, there are several festivals where an absence would probably be noted by neighbors – the opening of the fishing season and the celebration of Mamnon’s defeat of the demon T’sarbold would be among them. Since the sea trade and fishing is such a major part of the city’s prosperity, it is considered gauche to not offer up thanks at these times. There is also a major celebration in mid-winter during the Cleansing Moon.
Landing itself is a lively trading center. Goods come in from the northern barbarian nations via overland routes. Although northern trade is limited and heavily taxed, there are always a few hardy souls willing to risk the dangers of those lands. The inks, dyes, and sturdy ponies from the Cos’n tribes are highly valued in the reaches.
Trade with the inland villages is also brisk. Fresh perishables arrive nearly daily, as do some excellent ales. Many of these are available at the local pubs in town. There is also regular traffic of brown, white, and gold-smithed goods from the south. Most of these smithies are inland, so trader caravans do travel most of the year to the southern Reaches.
Sea trade brings the highest prosperity and the most unique items of all to the city. While the riches are not as vast as those in King’s Berth to the south, the local nobility does enjoy several luxury comforts.
Landing is ruled in the name of His Majesty King Dustin Parlomy by Freedrake Larson, Duke of Rivas Reach. The Duke and Duchess, Mellisand Thorngrue Larson, have two children: Teodor and Liessa. The Duke’s heir, Larson Edward Westward, was presented to the Duke by the Duke’s sister Patrica Larson Westward shortly after Mamnon’s last Gathering two years ago. At that time, with his true parentage confirmed, Edward was officially bestowed with his inheritance name, Larson, and acknowledged as the heir of Rivas Reach. Larson Edward was 4 years old at the celebration. It is expected that he will be accepted into fosterage by his uncle when he turns 10.
Landing’s Town Garrison is headed by Captain Mikael Thorngrue. The garrison hosts about 20 guards in its militia. Since the harbor hosts several warships to protect the shipping lanes and the biggest land threat to the safety of the citizenry would have to come through the Kings Border Guard from the north, the town militia focuses primarily on breaking up overly exuberant disagreements in wharf-front taverns. These don’t usually get too far out of hand as there is generally at least one militia member within shouting distance in that area of town. It is a popular recreation place for young lordlings who fancy a night of slumming.
POLITICS OF THE REACHES
The King’s Reaches are ruled by a monarch supported by a feudal system. There are 11 Duchies in the King’s Reaches. Landing is in the Duchy of Rivas Reach.
High Court is located in the capital, King’s Berth. The Duke’s family is in attendance for 2 – 3 months out of the year, generally between Gathering Moon and Harvest Moon.
Inheritance is Matrilineal. While women do not generally hold inherited titles government office assignments are gender-blind. Because the primary deity in the pantheon is female, women tend to hold the highest ranks in the church.
At the time of each birth the goddess Ansimia notes which souls are destined to serve Mamnon. The goddess of the hearth and of childbirth marks each of Mamnon’s Own as they emerge from their birth-mother’s bodies. These children are considered fosterlings until the next Gathering.
Periodically, generally at intervals between 5 and 10 years, Mamnon directs her priestesses to cast her nets across the land and gather Mamnon’s Own into her care. Each child marked by Ansimia is welcomed into Mamnon’s family. Their foster families are blessed for their service to Mamnon’s Own.
In the month before a child’s 20th birthday, preparations are made for his or her ascent to legal majority. This is a major event in the King’s Reaches and families plan for the celebration for months or even years in advance.
At least 20 days prior to the day of majority the family notifies the local temple so that preparations can be made. On the day of majority the new adult undergoes a ritual that includes a permanent marking of the left palm.
It is common in formal introductions to greet others with the left palm facing the other person so that they can see at a glance whether they are dealing with an adult of legal age to enter into binding contracts.
The earliest of stories speak of the birth of Mamnon and her brothers and sisters. There are many gods worshiped in barbarian nations, but Mamnon and her brothers and sisters are the true gods of the Chaldrea.
Mamnon is the eldest and most revered of the gods. Hers is the realm of the sea and its bounty. Hers is the wrath of the deep in her terrible glory. Hers is the awesome power of wave and wind.
Braz is her brother and consort. His is the realm of the life-giving sky. His is the gift of light, warmth, and truth. Under his gaze nothing can hide, no lie can survive. Braz sees and knows all.
T’Sarnor is Mamnon’s hunter. God of the forest and lord of the Houndlings, T’Sarnor is Mamnon’s right arm when her enemies flee. T’Sarnor keeps safe the shadows where Braz’ sight cannot penetrate.
Durn sprung from life in the crags of the mountains. His is the realm of the beasts of the land. Durn holds the secrets of the health of the herds. Lamed by T’Sarnor’s arrow as he fled with a stolen Houndling pup, Durn was forced to take the legs of a mountain sheep as his own.
Kitha is the goddess of the night sky. Her realm is that of the moon and stars. She keeps records of all things that occur while Braz sleeps and turns her records over to her brother for safekeeping.
G’ran is the god of fertility and sacrifice. His is the gift of abundance from the land, the gift of the harvest. We honor his sacrifice at the celebration of the Harvest Moon.
Ansimia is the goddess of the hearth and of childbirth. She keeps watch over the peace of the home and aids mothers in birth. At their births, Anisima marks those who are Mamnon’s own.
There are 14 months in the year, each lasting 25 days. The turning of the month is marked by the new moons, which are marked by the church services mentioned earlier.
- Planting Moon (spring planting)
- Mamnon’s Moon (fishing season begins)
- Festival Moon (Mamnon’s defeat of T’sarbold)
- Gathering Moon (First Fruits – Berries and sprouts)
- Shearing Moon (Herd animals are shorn)
- Harvest Moon (First Harvest)
- Hunter’s Moon (Hunting runs – blood-red sunsets)
- Bane Moon (Storms – Land locked)
- Weaver Moon (Bulk of weaving)
- T’sarbold Moon (T’sarbold steals away children)
- Birthing Moon (Most human children born)
- Cleansing Moon (Return of light, hope for spring)
- Swan Moon (Animal births, return of life, messages from the gods)
- Plowing Moon (Preparing the fields for planting)
The Campaign starts during Mamnon’s moon. Landing is caught up in the preparations for Festival Moon.
PLAYER CHARACTER OPTIONS
Landing is a relatively conservative town. In other words, outsiders are generally looked on with some suspicion. However despite that, Landing does offer opportunity for some variety in character background.
Now that I have a bit more experience with GURPS then I had when I originally proposed this campaign, I’m altering some of my original premises. I no longer require the characters to be built on only 75 points. If you have characters you worked up for the original version of this campaign, please modify them per the following guidelines:
- Characters should be 4th edition.
- Characters should be based on 100 points.
- It is not required that characters take the youth disad. The age of majority in this world is 20. Characters may be as young as 15. If you do choose to take the youth disad you will get 2 points per year below the age of majority (yes, I know the 4th ed. rules state a flat -10. I’m overruling.)
The reasons for the sliding scale are:
- The disad will be paid off gradually.
- It is much easier for a 19 yo to pass for 20 than it is for a 15 yo to do so. As you age the likelihood that someone will suspect (on 3d6) that you are underage will go down. There are things that you will have a hard time doing as a minor, so this disad will be played, and the younger you are the more frequently it will be a problem for you. (See the section called Achieving Majority, above.)
- If you do decide to be a minor, please make sure you have a solid understanding of your family’s background. Parents, siblings, extended family if applicable should all be detailed. Skills should be limited to those you are likely to be exposed to growing up. A farmer is not likely to have accounting or merchant-type skills, so a farmer’s children are unlikely to have picked those up through daily chores. Similarly a merchant’s son is less likely to know how to handle a boat than a fisherman’s daughter would be.
In general most Easy or Average skills would be within reach of an underage character (assuming they make sense given your background.) If you want your character to have a Hard skill, please discuss it with me.
Please note that I’d like family history whether you play a minor or not, but this information is critical if your character is a minor.
- Illiteracy is assumed in this world. You will get your native tongue (speaking) per usual, but unless you decide you want to be literate (more likely if you take social status) you get a -3 point disad of native language illiteracy.
Neither this or the social status (minor) disad count against your 40 pt disad limit.
- As before, characters are limited to human (there are several human races to choose from) and mundane. No Mage or Psi advantages or skills will be allowed. Similarly, clerical investment is not possible for player characters.
- TBAM skills are not available.
All characters will start the campaign in Landing. You will need to have an established residence in the city. You can be visiting for the festival if you normally live outside of town, but if you are not native to Rivas Reach you’ll need to have a semi-permanent reason to be in town. Your character background must include that.
Available player character races are:
Chaldrea – Native race of the King’s Reaches.
Free Coaster – Citizens of the Free Coast are Chaldrea natives. Politically they think of themselves as independent by dint of cleverness and deception. Think Cornish smugglers. Most Free Coasters are quite competent in the King’s tongue, but amongst themselves they tend to speak a distinct dialect that can be difficult for non-natives to understand. Think Cockney.
Cos’n – barbarian race to the north of the Reaches. The Reaches and the Cos’n, while not technically at war, live in a state of uneasy peace. There is little love lost between the two and even less trust. If you decide you want to play a Cos’n be prepared to come up with an outstanding reason why you are in Landing and how you’ve managed to go unnoticed. An unusual background is required as well as native-level spoken Chaldrean unless you want to be treated like a 1920’s black in the middle of a KKK convention. (In general I don’t recommend this race for PCs.)
Men’r – This race is not common in the Reaches, but there is a small Guild House in Landing that always seems to host a few of them. They don’t stay long in town (a few months perhaps), but they seem to rotate through in a fairly constant stream. This race is known for their ability in the arts. They are artists, actors, musicians, storytellers, etc. It is common for their young adults to spend time as a journeyman in other countries. An unusual background and spoken Chaldrean is required. Expect to be treated slightly better than a gypsy by most Chaldreans.
Lemac – A race of traders from across the Eastern sea, north of theGreatForestand south of the lands of the Men’r. They are more commonly found in the Eastern Reaches. You’d need a pretty creative reason to be in Landing.
Other known races include the Gl’ran, inhabitants of the Great Salt Marsh, and the Va’far, who dwell in theGreatForestbeyond. Neither are available for player characters.
Both Secret Advantages and Schrodinger’s Advantage are available. Schrodinger’s Advantage must be approved. Secret Advantages can be purchased by also accepting Secret Disadvantages if you like.
There are potential situations in the game where players might find themselves with unexpected advantages, disadvantages, or skills whether or not they’ve purchased secret ads or disads. It is very possible that the party will never encounter anything that would result in an unplanned ad, disad or skill if they don’t buy secrets ads or disads. Likewise, players could end up with an unplanned ads, disads, or skills in addition to what they purchase.
The situations that might trigger these additional modifiers are set before the campaign begins. Ending up with one of these modifiers is entirely dependant on the party’s or character’s actions.