Can GAZ products flesh out Ghostwalk nations?

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Can GAZ products flesh out Ghostwalk nations?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:27 am

The Ghostwalk campaign setting is a one-shot campaign setting.

It's billed as a "Campaign Option" that you can supposedly drop into another campaign setting. Chimpman already has a topic about using Ghostwalk in Mystara and there are several other topics about using Ghostwalk with other settings. I'm trying to go the other way and find things that can be dropped into Ghostwalk to expand the detail there.

Havard has spoken about connections between Classic D&D stuff/Mystara and Ghostwalk a few times, as Ghostwalk has Orcus in it as one of the local gods. So I know that there might be some Classic D&D adventures that could be modified to work on the island that Orcus cultists took over in the Ghostwalk campaign. But I was looking at the GAZ Series recently, as some of them are going onto Print on Demand on DMs Guild. I realised that we are coming to an era where I don't have to deprive Classic D&D fans/Mystara fans of a GAZ product in order to get one. (Or sell a kidney to afford one.) :)

LIST OF GAZ SERIES BOOKS: I figure that a lot of the stuff in those books is going to be too specifically Mystaran, to work as something in Ghostwalk, but I also figure that there is going to be generic content that would allow GMs to play Classic D&D games that branch off from the Known World and go in other directions.

I need to flesh out the following Ghostwalk countries

LIST OF GHOSTWALK COUNTRIES:
  • BAZAREEN: A rigid gynarchy ruled by mighty sorcerer nobles. 99% human population.
  • HIKRIAN PENINSULA: The area around the City of Manifest is a forested area of coastline. There are three small islands with fishing folk off of the coast and two small towns. (Population not stated)
  • SALKIRIA: A monarchy. 92% human population, 7 percent halfling population.
  • SURA-KHIRI: A monarchy. 99% elven population.
  • COIL (Demiplane): A Yuan-ti demiplane with multiple connections to Sura-Khiri.
  • TEREPPEK: A pedocracy ruled by a Council of Learned Bureaucrats with a dwarven monarchy in the Thanaurmar Hills. 98% human population, 1 percent dwarven population
  • THURKASIA: A republic with a token monarchy. 95% human population, 2% gnome population, 2% dwarven population.
  • XAPHAN: A theocracy ruled by a Council of Vampires. Formerly known as Inuitea before cultists of Orcus seized power. 4% human population, 95% undead population.
I'm especially wondering how well material from GAZ5 (or GAZ13) might fit into Sura-Khiri. And I'm wondering if anything from GAZ6 might work in the Thanaurmar Hills in Tereppek (or even Thurkasia). But I'm open to any other ideas about taking small or large ideas from the GAZ books and dropping them into Ghostwalk.

I'm not sure there is anything like Xaphan in the GAZ Series, but I would actually be more interested in working on the history of the doomed island nation of Inuitea. There are some Inuitean refugees who managed to escape the islands, and some still escape to this day. I need to build up a damaged island monarchy with merchants and fishing fleets.

Does anyone have any ideas? Would any of these GAZ books be useful to me?

Are there any GAZ books that would be a poor fit that you would suggest I avoid?
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Re: Can GAZ products flesh out Ghostwalk nations?

Post by Morfie » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:44 am

BAZAREEN: A rigid gynarchy ruled by mighty sorcerer nobles. 99% human population.
(A province in Alphatia, more details are in Bruce Heard's blog than in the Gaz. Not sure if any were specifically female-centric but easily substituted)

HIKRIAN PENINSULA: The area around the City of Manifest is a forested area of coastline. There are three small islands with fishing folk off of the coast and two small towns. (Population not stated)
(A mini Minrothad, or Choose Your Own Ierendi islands)

SALKIRIA: A monarchy. 92% human population, 7 percent halfling population
(Karameikos, plus Five Shires)

SURA-KHIRI: A monarchy. 99% elven population.
(Alfheim)

COIL (Demiplane): A Yuan-ti demiplane with multiple connections to Sura-Khiri.
(No Yuan-ti in Mystara, substitute for Shadow Elves)

TEREPPEK: A pedocracy ruled by a Council of Learned Bureaucrats with a dwarven monarchy in the Thanaurmar Hills. 98% human population, 1 percent dwarven population
(Thyatis/Darokin)

THURKASIA: A republic with a token monarchy. 95% human population, 2% gnome population, 2% dwarven population.
(Darokin/Thyatis)

XAPHAN: A theocracy ruled by a Council of Vampires. Formerly known as Inuitea before cultists of Orcus seized power. 4% human population, 95% undead population.
(Expand one of the Principalities of Glantri that is to do with Vampires. Plus add some Ravenloft)

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Re: Can GAZ products flesh out Ghostwalk nations?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:24 pm

Morfie wrote:BAZAREEN: A rigid gynarchy ruled by mighty sorcerer nobles. 99% human population.
(A province in Alphatia, more details are in Bruce Heard's blog than in the Gaz. Not sure if any were specifically female-centric but easily substituted)
Bruce Heard does have some pretty good stuff on his blog. I'll have to go searching for stuff there.

You are right about substituting in a female-centric culture. I wonder if I could add in some of the Greyhawk/Forgotten Realms stuff about drow, to give me a culture dominated by women with magical power. :?
Morfie wrote:HIKRIAN PENINSULA: The area around the City of Manifest is a forested area of coastline. There are three small islands with fishing folk off of the coast and two small towns. (Population not stated)
(A mini Minrothad, or Choose Your Own Ierendi islands)
I guess that fishing people on the coast and the islands would be similar. There are some elves in the forest in the Hikrian Peninsula. They are different elves to the ones in Sura-Khiri. They have some sort of magic trees that suck up elven souls. Elves go from all across the world to be there. (It's the elven answer to Manifest.) I guess I'll have to add in some stuff for that.
Morfie wrote:SALKIRIA: A monarchy. 92% human population, 7 percent halfling population
(Karameikos, plus Five Shires)
Sounds good.

(I suspect that I might also be able to reboot Five Shires a different way to give me some of the nations of Anadian halflings. :) )
Morfie wrote:SURA-KHIRI: A monarchy. 99% elven population.
(Alfheim)
I'll have to see how well that fits. I guess I could also mix in a bit of the elven civilisation from the Sundered Empire (to make it a little bit less obviously lifted from Mystara).
Morfie wrote:COIL (Demiplane): A Yuan-ti demiplane with multiple connections to Sura-Khiri.
(No Yuan-ti in Mystara, substitute for Shadow Elves)
I guess I can look outside of the GAZ products for Yuan-ti material...

...unless you were suggesting that Shadow Elf culture could stand in for the Yuan-ti civilisation. :)
Morfie wrote:TEREPPEK: A pedocracy ruled by a Council of Learned Bureaucrats with a dwarven monarchy in the Thanaurmar Hills. 98% human population, 1 percent dwarven population
(Thyatis/Darokin)
Thanks.
Morfie wrote:THURKASIA: A republic with a token monarchy. 95% human population, 2% gnome population, 2% dwarven population.
(Darokin/Thyatis)
So the same as before, but rebooted slightly differently.

It's kind of frustrating that Ghostwalk didn't name these particular gnomes and dwarves (especially when there are so few gnomes in Ghostwalk). Perhaps I can look at some of the dwarven and gnomish naming conventions and hack the phonemes to give me a new word that sounds familiar. :?
Morfie wrote:XAPHAN: A theocracy ruled by a Council of Vampires. Formerly known as Inuitea before cultists of Orcus seized power. 4% human population, 95% undead population.
(Expand one of the Principalities of Glantri that is to do with Vampires. Plus add some Ravenloft)
They have vampires in Glantri? I need to learn more about that! :D

Adding Ravenloft is a good suggestion. I don't have much Ravenloft-fu, but I suppose I could raid some stuff from Secrets of Kartane! They have some excellent support for RL.
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Re: Can GAZ products flesh out Ghostwalk nations?

Post by ghendar » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:05 pm

When I read the thread topic "Can GAZ products flesh out Ghostwalk nations?" I thought it was going to be about creating Gazzes for the Ghostwalk nations. That would be an interesting project.
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Re: Can GAZ products flesh out Ghostwalk nations?

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:34 pm

Besides the books with the the GAZ code, the Dawn of the Emperors boxed set is a critical part of the series, detailing the lands of Alphatia and Thyatis. We can't really talk about the GAZ series, or give appropriate recommendations, without it.

The Champions of Mystara boxed set helped flesh out some of the lands covered in the Voyage of the Princess Ark column.

Finally, the Hollow World boxed set had some gazetteer-like books associated with it.

Sons of Azca
The Kingdom of Nithia
The Milenian Empire

And there's also the Red Steel boxed set for 2e.
BAZAREEN: A rigid gynarchy ruled by mighty sorcerer nobles. 99% human population.
As Morfie suggested above, Alphatia (detailed in Dawn of the Emperors, and on Bruce Heard's website) is probably the best parallel here. Alphatia is ruled by a woman (Empress Eriadna) in any case, and it wouldn't take much to change male Alphatian nobles into martial artists theoretically subordinate to their magic-using wives (though they may, in fact, have political influence through their wives and daughters). Alphatia has a volcano city, a dominion with monstrous slaves, and many other parallels to Bazareene. The Bazareene even have a similar appearance to the "Common Alphatian" race.

I would avoid any comparisons to drow culture here; Bazareene's alignment is completely different, and dark elves don't have any monopoly on powerful women.

The Varlin tribes that dwell in Bazareene could be based on the Ethengar people from The Golden Khan of Ethengar, or they might correspond to the Jennites of the Steppes of Jenn in Mystara (who sadly don't have a gazetteer).
HIKRIAN PENINSULA: The area around the City of Manifest is a forested area of coastline. There are three small islands with fishing folk off of the coast and two small towns. (Population not stated)
This regions seems somewhat similar to the Kingdom of Ierendi. Manifest itself is similar to Elegy Island in Ierendi, which like Manifest is a traditional burial ground associated with ghosts.
SALKIRIA: A monarchy. 92% human population, 7 percent halfling population.
Honestly, this feels a lot like Almarrón on the Savage Coast, although Almarron is a "democracy" ruled by a dictator rather than a monarchy. It's a little like Gargoña with its emphasis on art and culture, too. Of the Gazetteer nations, I think it's most like Karameikos.
SURA-KHIRI: A monarchy. 99% elven population.
Alfheim.
COIL (Demiplane): A Yuan-ti demiplane with multiple connections to Sura-Khiri.
As Morfie noted above, there are no canonical yuan-ti on Mystara (though some have placed them on the southern continent of Davania), but Alfheim as detailed in the Gazetteer has multiple "bad magic points" where monsters can enter the elven forest from other worlds and planes.

Module M3 Twilight Calling involves a prison demiplane full of an ancient reptilian species called the carnifex who are broadly similar to the yuan-ti in that they're hostile, intelligent reptiles.

I think Morfie might have suggested the shadow elves because they have ziggurats and because they're the enemies of the elves of Alfheim, constantly attempting to invade or infiltrate the forest through the "bad magic points" or underground tunnels. They're not otherwise very similar to yuan-ti, and unlike the yuan-ti the shadow elves actually portrayed very sympathetically in their own gazetteer. They're not an evil race, although the elves of Alfheim think of them that way.

Sons of Azca, which detailed the Azcan Empire in the Hollow World, might actually be a decent source of inspiration for the yuan-ti of Coil. The hidden moon of Myoshima, detailed briefly in Champions of Mystara, might be a good model too, with the rakastas of Myoshima replaced with yuan-ti.
TEREPPEK: A pedocracy ruled by a Council of Learned Bureaucrats with a dwarven monarchy in the Thanaurmar Hills. 98% human population, 1 percent dwarven population
The Milenian Empire in the Hollow World is probably the best model here. The dwarves of the Thanaurmar Hills might be more like Highforge in Karameikos, or the Kogolor dwarves of the Hollow World.
THURKASIA: A republic with a token monarchy. 95% human population, 2% gnome population, 2% dwarven population.
Although you wouldn't know it from this description, this country is very much like the Ethengar Khanate in Mystara. The Varlin Mountains are something like Rockhome and/or the Broken Lands.
XAPHAN: A theocracy ruled by a Council of Vampires. Formerly known as Inuitea before cultists of Orcus seized power. 4% human population, 95% undead population.
As Morfie pointed out, Glantri has some vampire nobles, though Xaphan is much more horrific, and Glantri isn't a theocracy (quite the opposite, as clerics are banned there). Glantri is a multicultural nation with a wide variety of factions contending for power and I'm not sure how much of it would be left if you reduced it to Xaphan. You might be able to glean something from it useful for Xaphan; Prince Morphail of the House of Igorov (described as "expansionist chaotic vampires") could be ported over to Xaphan, for example. Morphail even has a pact with a demon lord, though it's Alphaks rather than Orcus. Prince Brannart McGregor is a lich, and could conceivably be ported over to Xaphan as well. Other Glantrian nobles could be transformed into undead versions of their canonical selves, I suppose, which would result in a sort of macabre parody of Glantri. Could work, especially if Rad was replaced with Orcus.

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Re: Can GAZ products flesh out Ghostwalk nations?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:25 am

ghendar wrote:When I read the thread topic "Can GAZ products flesh out Ghostwalk nations?" I thought it was going to be about creating Gazzes for the Ghostwalk nations. That would be an interesting project.
That's not such a bad idea.

I was originally thinking about raiding the Mystara GAZ products, but looking at several sources and coming up with new ideas would be great. :)
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