Excerpt from Threshold #4:
On the Outer World
Rakasta fleeing from Mystara in BC 400 established the city of Mara on Patera. The banished rakasta spent the next few centuries dominating their new homeland, conquering tribes of primitive rakasta and creating a kingdom of feudal lords throughout the Myoshima Islands. In AC 300 civil war breaks out among the Myoshimans as various daimyos attempted to unite all of the feudal lords under one ruler. After a century of fighting, Daimyo Hirameki succeeded in uniting all of the warring clans, but not before several are whisked away to the Hollow Moon by the immortals.
In the Hollow Moon
Being very similar to the Myoshima Islands on Patera, the rakasta clans placed here took little time to subjugate the territory. The Mauro Islands consist of several ancient craters and caldera strung together in the western Spindrift Sea. The three major populations are centered on the islands of Hyoto in the north, and Shimtora and Raitochi in the south. The central crater chains are more sparsely populated, although their waters are shallow and support a wide variety of fish. The soil on these islands also tends to be more fertile, though the dangers of the Fire Times in these areas is greater as well.
The Mauro rakasta are primarily fishermen, and ply their trade from a flotilla of ships as well as along the shores of their country. Many villages lie along the coast, and are composed of wooden stilt houses designed to weather circle tides that raise the sea levels twice a year.
All rakasta in Mauro, regardless of their station, owe fealty to one of the great daimyos of the land. The three most powerful are Anori, Kageoku, and Taniokura, all of whom employ sizable military forces led by powerful samurai, warriors with braided fur and tattooed pelts. Samurai warriors are the only rakasta in Mauro that are allowed to bear iron weapons - for others owning such tools is little more than a death sentence.
Shamans and oracles are abundant in the country, and are often sought after to provide advice on every aspect of daily life, from where to fish, when to harvest crops, and even when to make war upon a neighbor. Mauro rakasta are fond of stories, especially those related to their ancestors, and take great pride in crafting songs and ballads that can last for hours on end. Though aware of the greater world, most pay it little heed, being focused instead on their family, their honour, and their lord. Even the daimyos, more intent on fighting one another than any outside force, largely ignore the nations surrounding them - though on occasion one or more of them has sent tributes to Adhuza to curry favors or buy support for local conquests.
Most of the Mauro Islands sport some number of craters and calderas, many of which are active throughout the year. Because of this, and because there are very few real volcanoes in the Spindrift Sea (relative to the rest of Nearside), Fire Times tend to be mild in these lands. The one exception is along the rim of Baningu Kureta, which sports several live volcanoes. These spit out gouts of ash on a regular basis throughout the year, but once every 20 years more violent eruptions throw chunks of burning basalt into the sky.
- Rumblings along the Baningu Kureta during the latest Fire Times have awakened evil spirits deep in the earth. Filled with bloodlust, and a seething hatred for the living, these spirits wage a campaign of terror against the villagers and fishermen of Hyoto. The PCs must brave the treacherous terrain and poisonous vapors of the great crater to find the spirit’s lair and destroy them before entire villages are carried off to be devoured.
- Diamyo Taniokura has claimed the title of shogun, and is amassing a large army of samurai to attach his neighbors. Several villages have already fallen prey to his forces and soon the other major clans will be forced into an alliance to stop him. Unfortunately the shogun has sold his honour to Adhuza, and is little more than a kopru puppet. The PCs are sent to discover from where the shogun’s newfound power issues and to put a stop to it before all of Mauro falls to war.
- The court of Daimyo Anori is thrown into turmoil after a stranger is found washed up upon the shores. After nursing the stranger back to health, Daimyo Anori gives him the run of his palace and then promptly secludes himself behind closed doors while his sons bicker and fight for the aging rakasta’s title. When the PCs determine that the stranger, a mordigswerg dwarf, is behind the entire fiasco, they must put an end to his treachery before the entire island falls to infighting.