Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Mezo-American adventures in Maztica, the True World.
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Seethyr
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Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Seethyr » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:24 am

Way back in 2013, a great discussion on the northern Torillian continent of Anchorome was discussed right here on The Piazza then it just seemed to die. I can't stand to see a good idea go to waste, and have decided to take it up as my next major project for DMS Guild. In truth, I would like this to be as extensive as The Maztica Campaign Guide or at the very least, the Lopango sourcebook. If it gets completed, that effectively covers every "True World" continent other than Katashaka far far to the south, but that is a project for another year. Speaking of years, The Maztica Campaign Guide took more than a full year to write...I'm hoping this one is done in 6 months.

For those of you that don't know what Anchorome is, originally it was designed as a set of islands by Ed Greenwood in his original campaign. This is a far cry from the massive continent which is often labeled as "terra incognita" in various FR products now.

There is not much known about Anchorome, but off the top of my head, I will summarize every fact that I can remember which is official...

Facts about Anchorome

1. The southern portion is occupied mainly by a race of humans known as the Azuposi. As the name suggests (gotta love the 90s and its tendency to change cultural names just a little), these people are based off of the Anasazi/Pueblo Native Americans from the SW United states and northern Mexico. These folk believe strongly in spirits (religion is basically animism), live in pueblo homes in a fertile canyon, have a primary city called Michaca (aka the City of Gold), and are heavily featured in FMQ1 City of Gold.

2. Other races in the region include elves (known as the Poscadori Elves), Desert Dwarves, Halflings (Little Ones), Hill Giants, and even reportedly Thri-Kreen further north. There are other human groups as well (Metahel, Nahopaca, and Dog People).

3. There was a race of ancients in these lands once that left a set of ruins, a long standing bridge and some other monuments. They were known as the Esh Alakarans, but everyone is scared as heck about their ruins and noone knows who, or what they were (the elves might have a clue).

4. Balduran, the founder of Baldur's Gate, is the only well-known Faerunian to have come to Anchorome. Some say he was killed and buried here by the elves on a return trip, but video game canon had him killed by lycanthropes on nearby islands.

That is pretty much the extent of the canon material, and if you look at a map of Anchorome, you'll see that the lands occupied by the Azuposi are in the very southern reaches of a very LARGE continent. Imagine it is New Mexico compared to the whole of the US and possibly Canada.

Semi-canonically (and widely assumed on the internet) further north, there are the Realms equivalent of other Native American tribes.

So, all I have so far is a pledge from a phenomenal cartographer to develop a map and a write up of the histories and origins of the region through the eyes of each seperate culture. Here are some of the homebrew ideas I am working on in conjunction with the canon material.

Homebrew/Canon Mix for Anchorome

1. The Esh Alakarans were Spellweavers and their ruins were once a Spellweaver Node that blew up when their empire crumbled millenia ago (Dragon Magazine 338). Four spellweavers will still be alive and occupying the ruins with one finally ready to reproduce. According to the Dragon Magazine article on the Spellweavers, this only occurs once every 3600 years. The spellweavers brought the thri-kreen to Toril from an "unknown world" (yes, I'm trying to make an Athas connection here) because the Spellweavers believed they held a piece of the magic that could reverse their empire's destruction (again, from the Dragon article).

2. The races of the area will include the canonical Azuposi, elves, dwarves, halflings, hill giants and thri-kreen, but will also add spirit folk further north (brought to the world on the back of a great Thunderbird from a spirit realm), sasquatch (not exactly, there was a similar creature in one of the MMs from 3e, but I can't remember their names) in a huge forested area, sahuagin in the nearby seas that worship Dagon - having been corrupted by Shalarin emissaries from the Sea of Corynactis) and possibly a race of cliff dwarves or even darfellan if I don't feel that is overdoing it.

3. Thanks to some ideas from Candlekeep postings, and actual rumors from Ed Greenwood, I am thinking of connecting both the Spellweavers and the Thri-Kreen to the ancient god Jergal. Haven't quite figured out how yet, but someone on CK suggested that one of the remaining Spellweavers is actually an avatar of Jergal. It doesn't feel quite right yet...

So anyway, I am open to suggestions as always or simply just interest in the topic. On my last project, I wrote out a massive Table of Contents first, then tried to write up each section one at a time. It seemed inorganic to me and this time I am just going to write as I go. I don't know what this will eventually include as a project, but certainly there will be 5e updates to almost all of City of Gold.
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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Seethyr » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:39 am

Seethyr wrote:... sasquatch (not exactly, there was a similar creature in one of the MMs from 3e, but I can't remember their names) in a huge forested area...
Alaghi...found it in Monsters of Faerun. Might also update Umpleby and throw them in.
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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Zeromaru X » Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:18 am

This seems good, but I'm already lost with Maztica. When I finish my translation of the dragonborn of Maztica, I would gladly brainstorm in this project as well.

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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Seethyr » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:30 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:This seems good, but I'm already lost with Maztica. When I finish my translation of the dragonborn of Maztica, I would gladly brainstorm in this project as well.
Wonderful! I am looking forward to your take on it!
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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Seethyr » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:32 pm

So, perhaps I had a little bit too much time at work today...

Here is what I've put together so far. Please understand that this is an unedited draft. It may be rife with grammatical errors.
History

Throughout its history, the True World has developed mostly independently of Faerun. In the previous century and a half, knowledge of the Maztican continent – due mostly to the actions of Cordell and the Amnian invasion, has become at least somewhat understood.

Anchorome however, still remains one of the world’s great mysteries. On most Faerunian maps, and even in the lore of Mazticans, it is “terra incognita;” a mysterious and unknown land of strange peoples and customs.

When Maztica returned from its exile on Abeir, the old physical connections to Anchorome also returned. The brave traveling merchants of Maztica known as the pochteca immediately set out for these new lands and what they found were not the “barbarians” many once thought occupied the region. There are in fact numerous rich cultures, each with their own unique histories. The inhabitants are not generally known to write about their past but rather pass their knowledge from generation to generation with detailed storytelling.

Of all the pochteca, Achcauhtli may be the most well-traveled in this northern region and his reports are certainly the most famous. A great grand-nephew of the Grand Pochteca of Kolan, Achcauhtli was once considered to be next in line for the position due to both his bloodline and remarkable talent. He cares little for power or prestige, however, and has spent the last decade chronicling as much of the history of north as he could. He has listened to all the legends, and visited even the exotic Land of the Mantis-Men in his travels. Achcauhtli’s talents in the magic of divination go far beyond the average pochteca and he has even spoken at length directly with the Great Spirit Masauwu to verify the history he chronicles. Before you is a summary of the results of his long and arduous journey that were originally written in a series of scrolls entitled Coszcatl Mictlampa (Jewels of the North). Copies of his original works have been brought to the libraries of Helmsport-Ulatos, Tukan, Tulom-Itzi and even as far as Candlekeep in Faerun.

Origins and Peoples

Perhaps the most numerous people of southern Anchorome are known as the Azuposi, but they are hardly the only culture to exist in the region. The origin stories and histories of each folk are given below summarized from Coszcatl Mictlampa and ordered loosely based on their proximity to Michaca.

The Azuposi. By far the most populous of the region, the Azuposi origin story begins with the world’s creation by the powerful spirits known as Sus’sistinako (the Spider Woman), and one who is simply known as the Sun. Achcauhtli originally believed that these beings were in fact aspects of Maztica and Kukul, but his direct conversations with Masauawu have changed his mind, despite the glaring similarities. Masauwu explained that the greater spirits just are and always have been. They existed long before mankind emerged and will exist long after they have gone. Achcauhtli found legends of similar (if not the same) beings written in obscure yuan-ti texts that he came across in Candlekeep. The stories are from the time of the sarruhk empires!

While Sus’sistinako and the Sun may have “created the world,” they were not the progenitors of life itself. Instead, a song from the Spider Woman brought forth the creation spirits Iyatiku and Alosaka; known as the Corn Mother and the Germinator respectively. It was these two great spirits who brought life to many of the plants and animals that live in southern Anchorome today. Azuposi often believe that these two beings are the progenitors of the human race, but Achcauhtli has written that the Azuposi migrated for many generations through countless miles of underground tunnels from the distant land of Kara-Tur. Their language still holds similarities to the Wu-haltai of Kara-Tur’s northern regions.

Before their emergence from the underdark, the Azuposi existed in a state of terrible chaos and evil. They knew of the surface and an exit from the underground which they called Shipapu.

The Azuposi had many who sought an escape from their terrible existence, but they feared what they might find on the surface. They sought a hero and found it in a young boy known as Motsni. In Azuposi legend, Motsni was a bird who flew from Shipapu to the surface, but Achcauhtli has discovered that generations of storytelling has distorted the truth. Motsni was nothing more than a brave traveler who had been called “Little Bird” much later in life. Achcauhtli garnered this bit of knowledge in a frank conversation with Masauwu, and he greatly enjoyed its telling. Motsni’s journeys reminded him much of his own profession as pochteca.

After many years of wandering on the surface, Motsni came across a small fire where a handsome man unlike any he had ever seen was seated. Motsni realized immediately that the he was in the presence of a being that was something more than mortal. This was mankind’s first encounter with its patron spirit Masauwu, the Skeleton Man. Masauwu offered the polite but desperate traveler a seat by his fire and a place for Motsni’s people on the surface where he would guide and protect them. Masauwu also promised that, if they chose to follow him, life would not be simple.

When Motsni returned with the proto-Azuposi, Masauwu held to his promises. He taught them how to work the land and gave them the tools to do so. He instructed them on how to build homes from the mud, stone and straw (known as adobe) and how and how to grow food in their surface realm. The Azuposi founded what would one day become their great city of Michaca, and Masauwu gave them the gift of micha, a magical golden dust that gave their city its moniker “The City of Gold.” The Azuposi knew of and venerated other great spirits, but Masauwu became the one which they venerated above all others.

The Metahel. The Metahel, like the Azuposi, are migrants that came from lands further westward. They are a waterborne race of humans however, and have long lived through the bounty of the sea. Achcauhtli believes they originated from northwestern Wa in Kara-Tur, but spent so many generations sea bound that their culture transformed into something unique. The Metahel are not as steeped in legend as are the Azuposi, but they venerate spirits of the sea and believe that they were guided to Anchorome in a divine plan. Ootu is the greatest of these spirits and perhaps the only true deity among those venerated.

When the Metahel first landed, they did so in great numbers both south and west of the Azuposi. Initially the Azuposi went to war with the settlers, but the fighting abated not long after. The Azuposi were accustomed to the aggressive Nahopaca and feared the Metahel upon their arrival. A wise Sunwatcher of the Azuposi known as Aonghus brokered a peace that lasts until this day. The Metahel still work the seas and have masterfully crafted whaling boats that are like none other on Toril. trade flourishes between the two human races, with the Metahel supplying fish and beautiful shells and the Azuposi supplying furs, crops and various textiles for building.

The Nahopaca. The Nahopaca splintered from the Dog People through centuries of slow migration and have since formed a distinct culture. Like many in Anchorome, they are a nomadic folk who prefer the semi-arid plateaus north of the Sands of Itzcala to the deep desert itself.

The spirits that the Nahopaca revere are not as clearly distinct as they are among the Azuposi and they certainly do not believe the spirits are responsible for their creation. In many ways, the Nahopaca practice the purest form of animism known in the Realms. They attribute living spirits to almost everything they see which certainly includes significant geographical features, but even the most insignificant plant or rock has a spark of the divine. The Nahopaca include their own anima in this belief, and do not differentiate their importance from the others.

The Nahopaca are not considered to be abjectly cruel, but given their deeply nomadic origins, they have little understanding of personal property or lands. They raid Azuposi, Metahel or desert dwarven lands whenever the opportunity presents itself. Though there is mutual respect between the Nahopaca and the Dog People, when these two groups meet in a fertile hunting ground, bloodshed inevitably ensues.

Though their legends might not be steeped in an extensive history, their proximity to the ruins of Esh Alakar make them perhaps the most knowledgeable about the ruins, with the exception of perhaps the Poscadari elves. Achcauhtli’s managed a peaceful discussion with a Nahopaca hunter by offering significant chunks of turquoise. He discovered that the Nahopaca believe the ruins were built by an ancient race of many-armed creatures that performed terrible experiments on any who came too close to the ruins. Like the Poscadari elves, they avoid the whole region.

The Dog People. Outsiders would have difficulty distinguishing the Nahopaca from the Dog People, but the Dog People tend to remain in the deep desert, and have a sandier coloration to their skin that serves to camouflage them well and protect them from the sun’s rays.

According to Achcauhtli, the Dog People believe they sprung from the desert sands in a time long forgotten. The pochteca was captured by the desert folk early in his travels and during his imprisonment he managed to overhear stories told by Dog People elders, but very few alluded to specifics of their origins. By the time he was rescued by the Rockjaw clan of desert dwarves, he had gained very little information.

When Achcauhtli met with Masauwu, he inquired about the Dog People hoping that the immortal spirit could at least guide him in the right direction. Masauwu explained that when the Azuposi emerged from Shipapu, many chose to remain behind. They were fearful of the “difficult life” the Skeleton Man offered and instead disappeared back into the depths of the world. Even the Great Spirits are not omniscient, so the details became relatively vague at this point, but many centuries later, those who remained were besieged by other creatures from below. Through Masauwu’s description, Achcauhtli believes that these creatures were scorpionfolk.

The threat forced the Dog People to emerge from the underground, much as the Azuposi had done centuries earlier. When they emerged in the desert, communities split into smaller family units that met only infrequently. This is the Dog People known in the True World today.

The Poscadari Elves. Elves once followed a charismatic shaman named Wanahton from the distant and frozen north into lands that are far warmer and have much more plentiful game.

The elves met with the humans who inhabited the land and forged a lasting peace instantly. To this day, the elves may be the greatest allies of the Azuposi, and they have even had pleasant dealings with the Nahopaca across the Long Canyon.

Some of the elves splintered over time and headed eastward towards the shore. Though still considered Poscadari, these elves have only come into contact with the violent Dog People and sahuagin from the sea. They are generally more aggressive and xenophobic than the western tribes. When men from Faerun arrived on Anchorome’s shores, they encountered these tribes and it was they who ended Balduran’s incursions into the continent.

Like the Nahopaca, the elves almost universally avoid the Ruins of Esh Alakar for fear of releasing its hidden evils. They are said to hold some of the secrets of the ancients who built the ruins, but refuse to divulge those secrets. Achcauhtli was introduced to the elves in Elfmeet by an Azuposi guide and managed to negotiate safe passage through their lands to the Land of the Mantis Men. The elves do not venture into the deserts, and in the northern portion of their territory, they frequently war with some nests of thri-kreen.

The Desert Dwarves. In the Sands of Itzcala, the desert dwarves are known to keep to themselves. They avoid the Dog People, the Nahopaca and particularly the scorpionfolk who live deep beneath the sands.

This sunburned race of dwarves arrived in the True World after an event known as the Rockfire Disaster many centuries past. On an exploratory expedition westward, Faerunian dwarves were assaulted by drow that had followed them for weeks. In the battle, the drow unleashed powerful magic which weakened the underdark tunnel walls. Magma from below and ocean water from above rushed in and threatened to destroy both groups. Both drow and dwarf fled further and further west as the tunnels around them filled with scalding steam and boiling water.

Eventually, the dwarven clans split and two of the clans – the Rockjaws and Sandbeards headed north. They emerged in the Sands of Itzcala, and after many years of struggling to survive, they established thriving communities in the desert. The Rockjaw clan is known to be the only folk who have ever made contact with the colossal enigmatic beings of the desert known as the Sand Elders.

Since Cordell’s arrival, the desert dwarves have become slightly more visible among Mazticans and their cities. The very best guides to Anchorome outside of the pochteca are of desert dwarf stock.

The Hill Giants. The hill giants of the Long Canyon differ in appearance from hill giants elsewhere on Toril. Their sandy-dark skin tone and angular facial features are in fact quite similar to the Azuposi and there are even some similarities in culture; such as the building of giant-sized pueblos along the canyon walls.

This is no accident. The hill giants were once abducted Azuposi who the ancient Esh Alakarans transformed into their current form. This was accomplished using a magical elixir that also lessened their intellectual capabilities and increased their aggressiveness – all qualities sought after for the perfect guardian.

While Masauwu has not divulged the secrets of the ancient Esh Alakarans, he did explain to Achcauhtli that at some point in history, the hill giants broke free from their masters and that they have inhabited the Long Canyon ever since. The giants tolerate no trespassers, but do not often leave their relatively fertile canyon to raid others. If left alone, they are peaceable, but if travelers head too far west of the Bridge of the Ancients or north of Elfmeet, they should expect to be bombarded by thrown boulders from the canyon walls.

The Short Ones (Halflings).
The Short Ones, as the Anchorome halflings call themselves, are immigrants from the southern jungle halflings of Payit and Far Payit that have been in Anchorome so long, that they have mostly forgotten their origins. They are generally more peaceable than their more southerly kin, but have effective means of defending themselves nevertheless.

The Short Ones tend to garden often, and master horticulturalists. They also build conical homes from mud and branches that are surprisingly quite sturdy and can withstand the storms that often pass through their villages. The Short Ones almost always occupy the lower hills and light forests of Anchorome, but they are not as centered in one area as are the humans, elves and dwarves.

The halflings are known to specialize in druidic arts not seen elsewhere, and are protected by a variety of plant-like creatures that protect the halflings.

In Coszcatl Mictlampa, Achcauhtli refers to his time spent with the halflings as the most enjoyable of his travels. Though their diet is strictly vegetarian, he wrote of flavors and tastes that he had never before experienced. There is also a high frequency of a hallucinogenic substance somehow connects the user to the spirit world, but can have terrible side effects for non-halflings.

The Thri-Kreen. In the desert north of the Poscadori elves lies the fabled Land of the Mantis Men. There is no one way to describe the thri-kreen as there is a huge variety of bands of these beings. Some are cannibalistic, with a clearly defined taste for elven flesh; and others are peaceable but rarely venture far from their desert home. Achcauhtli managed a brief stay with an individual known as Krik’t’chic. This friend to the elves turned out to be quite informative.

Apparently, the thri-kreen had not always inhabited these lands, but had been called from another world by an unknown force or entity. The thri-kreen are not unhappy with their new homes, though they once sought to expand northwards where they came into conflict with the Minnenewah and southward into the lands of the Posacadori elves. The conflicts that arose hardened many of the thri-kreen and the sparse game of the desert had turned others to cannibalism.

The thri-kreen still occasionally feel the presence of the power the pulled them here centuries ago, as if it is always searching for something. They do not know of the source or what it wants from them.

The Minnenewah. The Minnenewah are a race of beings closely related to humans but have just as many similarities to the spirit folk of Kara-Tur. Geographically, the Minnenewah “control” a vast territory in Anchorome but the nomadic humans are not populous. Their lands are known to be occupied by strange spirit beasts that are just as populous as the Minnenewah themselves. There are hundreds of tribes of these folk in Anchorome, but only those in the Unole Plains have been encountered by the Azuposi. Much like the thri-kreen and elves, there are peaceable clans (though they are typically wary of strangers), and those that are overtly hostile. One of the largest in the Unole Plains roams the lands near the great Unole Ama lake, and they are known to kill strangers on sight, including other Minnenewah.

Achcauhtli did not travel far north enough to encounter tribes of the Minnenewah, but he did meet an elder that had married an Azuposi wife and settled in Michaca. According to the elder, the Minnenewah vary in cultural norms, but they do share some universal beliefs. Their lands are rife with powerful spirits that tend to take the forms of beasts rather than the more human-like spirits of the Azuposi. The great Thunderbird is the most revered and it was she who was said to carry the first man and woman to the world on its back from the Spirit Realm.

Secrets

The following bits of information are utterly unknown to the Azuposi. The spirits and some rare individuals may have this information, but they certainly are not telling.

Each secret can be given to the PCs in bits or as rumors and can lead to a variety of adventures.

Esh Alakarans. Exploring or even approaching the ruins of Esh Alakar is taboo to all nearby folk and for good reason. In a time long before the Azuposi emerged from Shippapu or the elves were led to the Pasocada Basin from the frozen north, southern Anchorome was occupied by beings from a plane spanning empire. These creatures are known elsewhere as spellweavers.

The spellweavers lived in great pyramidal cities known as nodes formed of stone and steel, and were powered internally by great furnaces of near godlike power. Continents, worlds or even planes held at most one of these nodes, and Anchorome is the location of the greatest on Faerun, if not the only one.

The spellweaver empire had a long and detailed history that is not generally known by any but the spellweavers themselves, and very little is known, even among scholars. What is known is that it all came crashing down on a single day in one great magical catastrophe. Whether it was in a battle with beings from the Far Realm or if it was due to a hubristic attempt to supplant the gods, the furnace within every known node across the multiverse exploded simultaneously, killing millions of spellweavers. Esh Alakar is one of these nodes.

Though the steel has long since rusted into reddish-brown dust, the stone remains even though the blast from the furnace made the city-sized ruins almost unrecognizable. There are halls and rooms that survived relatively intact and spellweaver hieroglyphics cover the remaining standing walls.

Inanimate walls and rooms are not all that survived the blast and four spellweavers still roam its halls to this day, guarding their ruins and their secrets. One of the remaining spellweavers is approaching the end of his sixth lifespan – the true end of a spellweaver’s life and the only occasion where one can actually reproduce. The spellweavers require great quantities of magical items to fuel their reproduction, and not enough is available, so the spellweaver has begun eyeing the micha of the Azuposi as a viable substitute. The Azuposi of course will not welcome this, nor will the spirits of the Sun Canyon.

Jergal and the Thri-Kreen. There is another, even deeper secret concerning the Esh Alakarans. The leader of the four remaining spellweavers is Al’Akar – one of the most ancient and powerful spellweavers known in the multiverse. It is he who has brought the magic that created the hill giants of Long Canyon, and it is he who has created the stone golem guardians and discovered the transformative magic that transforms intruders into venomous snakes. Al’Akar, unknown even to the spellweavers, is actually an ancient and independent avatar of the deity Jergal, who wishes to return Jergal to his former status. At the moment (as it has for millennia), this agenda has him searching for the same magical gems sought after by the spellweavers. The gems contain the components of a ritual that could turn back time to the moment of the ritual’s creation. This would effectively bring back the spellweaver empire and simultaneously return Jergal’s status as lord of the dead, murder and strife. Al’Akar’s agenda coincides quite nicely with the spellweavers’.

The thri-kreen are unknowingly part of this agenda. Originally from the world of Athas, the thri-kreen are in possession of one of these gems and this particular gem is said to be capable of locating all others. Jergal/Al’Akar has yet to locate the magic or even identify which particular group of thri-kreen carries the item.

Balduran’s Fate and the Lycanthropes. Balduran was a sea captain who set sail for Anchorome in his ship the Wandering Eye, and discovered great wealth which he stole from the Poscadari elves and hidden monuments of the Esh Alakarans. He then returned to Faerun and built a great wall around what would one day become the city of Baldur’s Gate. After hiding the remainder of his fortune in caves along the Sword Coast cliffs, he attempted to return to Anchorome to plunder even more wealth from undiscovered lands. His journey led him further north where Balduran ran afoul of the lycanthropes of the Adusgi Forest. Though Balduran escaped many of his crew were infected and their mutiny forced Balduran to shipwreck on an island not far from Anchorome’s shores. Balduran’s resting place is on this island, contrary to popular belief that his remains are in Anchorome proper.

Balduran’s legacy lies in the naming of the Bay of Balduran in Anchorome and of course Baldur’s Gate in Faerun, but his plundering has also driven the elves of the shorelines to become more xenophobic than their western kin. Much of his gold wealth was spent building the wall around Baldur’s Gate, but the magical relics he took from both the elves and the spellweavers has never been found. The lycanthropes were destroyed in the forest, but now entire generations have grown and reproduced on Balduran’s island.

Fort Flame the Sahuagin and Kuo-Toa. Fort Flame was a direct result of Balduran’s travels and his legacy. The Flaming Fist mercenary company sought out Balduran’s resting place shortly after Cordell’s invasion of Maztica, hoping to find the wealth he had either hidden or newly acquired on his second trip to Anchorome. Their travels were doomed nearly from the moment of their arrival when they were beset upon early by the sahuagin of the kingdom of Itzcala. Fleeing further northward, they eventually ran afoul of the violent clans of Poscadari elves that inhabited the shores.

Though hundreds were lost, the remaining mercenaries managed to establish a fort of their own which grew in size continuously for a century. When Maztica was transported to Abeir, this fledling town known as Fort Flame remained, and despite continuous attacks by both dragons (from newly arrived Laerakond) and the elves, they somehow managed to thrive. Fort Flame is now one of the few well established Faerunian settlements in the True World, but a new danger threatens to rot the settlement from inside and the outside.

The threat comes from the sahuagin of the kingdom of Itzcala and a band of fanatical kuo-toa that have come to dominate them. The sahuagin continually raid the shore lines and the war is a virtual standoff without either side gaining an upper hand. Fort Flame’s defenses are formidable and its warriors have been tested by dragons, but the sahuagin retreat to the seas where the humans cannot follow.

The kuo-toans worship insane gods and beings (some say they serve creatures from the Far Realm, and others speak of the demon lord Dagon), but their contribution to the attack is far more insidious. Through some ancient and foul magic, the kuo-toa have learned to disguise themselves as comely human males who can live entire years without discovery within Fort Flame’s walls. They interbreed with the humans and the offspring produced are just now growing to maturity. A generation of these hybrid beings exists in Fort Flame, and they are just now hearing the call of the sea, and their insane masters within it.

The Aeree. One of the fabled creator races of Toril, the Aeree are the progenitors of the aarakocra and possibly other winged creatures as well. It is unknown if these beings are extinct in their original forms or exist only as their distant ancestors. Northern Anchorome, however, is well-known to be the most likely place to find actual Aeree if they do truly exist. Far to the north and west, there are mountains which are most certainly inhabited by aarakocra, and if they do exist, this is where they can be found.

The Hairy Forest Folk. The Adusgi Forest, like the ruins of Esh Alakar, are avoided by most races in Anchorome for fears of what lies within. Minnenewah go no further than the Equani Geyvi river because of the rumors of the Hairy Forest Folk who inhabit the great wood.

Long ago a war brewed in the woods between lycanthropes of all types (many strange and new), and the greatest population of alaghi known to Toril. Along with their umpleby allies and nature magic, the alaghi managed to keep the lycanthropes at bay, but were never able to rid the forest of their presence. Then, when Baldur arrived and decimated the werebeasts from the east, the alaghi rejoiced as they finished off the few who remained. Now, the Hairy Men of the Forest dominate the forest, and it is the healthiest wood in all of Anchorome. Fey connections abound in the woodlands.
Last edited by Seethyr on Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jun 08, 2016 7:49 pm

Seethyr wrote:Way back in 2013, a great discussion on the northern Torillian continent of Anchorome was discussed right here on The Piazza then it just seemed to die. I can't stand to see a good idea go to waste, and have decided to take it up as my next major project for DMS Guild. In truth, I would like this to be as extensive as The Maztica Campaign Guide or at the very least, the Lopango sourcebook. If it gets completed, that effectively covers every "True World" continent other than Katashaka far far to the south, but that is a project for another year. Speaking of years, The Maztica Campaign Guide took more than a full year to write...I'm hoping this one is done in 6 months.
Hmm. If this was not for DMs Guild, I would suggest searching for ideas that have already been written and then combining them. But that's against DMs Guild rules. It does however say that you can raid ideas from D&D books (that are covered by the DMs Guild licence).
Seethyr wrote:For those of you that don't know what Anchorome is, originally it was designed as a set of islands by Ed Greenwood in his original campaign. This is a far cry from the massive continent which is often labeled as "terra incognita" in various FR products now.

There is not much known about Anchorome, but off the top of my head, I will summarize every fact that I can remember which is official...

Facts about Anchorome

1. The southern portion is occupied mainly by a race of humans known as the Azuposi. As the name suggests (gotta love the 90s and its tendency to change cultural names just a little), these people are based off of the Anasazi/Pueblo Native Americans from the SW United states and northern Mexico. These folk believe strongly in spirits (religion is basically animism), live in pueblo homes in a fertile canyon, have a primary city called Michaca (aka the City of Gold), and are heavily featured in FMQ1 City of Gold.
I guess that it would be possible to do research into the real Anasazi history, to look for legends connected to the spirits, that could be adapted to the Azuposi. Although you have to be careful with that sort of stuff (especially when the D&D version of something is labelled as "evil"). I would say that capturing the style of the Pueblo people would be more important than doing a one-to-one translation.

Anyhoo, these guys could probably get developed in their own topic. :)
Seethyr wrote:2. Other races in the region include elves (known as the Poscadori Elves), Desert Dwarves, Halflings (Little Ones), Hill Giants, and even reportedly Thri-Kreen further north. There are other human groups as well (Metahel, Nahopaca, and Dog People).
That sounds a bit like Dark Sun. I wonder if some Dark Sun concepts could be given a Maztica reboot to remove stuff like the Sorcerer Kings and defiling magic and replace it with concepts closer to North American or Maztican stuff.
Seethyr wrote:3. There was a race of ancients in these lands once that left a set of ruins, a long standing bridge and some other monuments. They were known as the Esh Alakarans, but everyone is scared as heck about their ruins and noone knows who, or what they were (the elves might have a clue).
That sounds a bit like the Mysterious Cities of Gold! :)

Scratch that. It sounds a bit more like the ancients from Malatra: The Living Jungle. I'm not sure how easy it would be to raid from Living Jungle*, if you were going to put stuff on DMs Guild, but you might be able to do something that is similar, and not mention names.

* = Malatra is part of Toril, so could be put up on DMs Guild, but I don't know if all the documents belong to WotC or if they belong to the original authors. It could be that some of the documentation, but not the adventures are available to you. :?
Seethyr wrote:4. Balduran, the founder of Baldur's Gate, is the only well-known Faerunian to have come to Anchorome. Some say he was killed and buried here by the elves on a return trip, but video game canon had him killed by lycanthropes on nearby islands.
There has to be plenty of information about Balduran online. Maybe we should have a topic about him. :)
Seethyr wrote:That is pretty much the extent of the canon material, and if you look at a map of Anchorome, you'll see that the lands occupied by the Azuposi are in the very southern reaches of a very LARGE continent. Imagine it is New Mexico compared to the whole of the US and possibly Canada.

Semi-canonically (and widely assumed on the internet) further north, there are the Realms equivalent of other Native American tribes.

So, all I have so far is a pledge from a phenomenal cartographer to develop a map and a write up of the histories and origins of the region through the eyes of each seperate culture. Here are some of the homebrew ideas I am working on in conjunction with the canon material.
All you have is a cartographer to make a map and write up the histories? :shock: All you have? :o That's probably going to get you half-way there! :cool:

There are a few maps of Anchorome around already. Do you think you could make a quck-and-dirty map that could be divided up into territories? If you can place nomadic nations onto a map, people could then go through the areas and build them one at a time. Maybe you don't have to build all of Anchorome in one go. Maybe you could have a grey area for the undeveloped bits and put in coloured nations, as people start to flesh them out from canon or fanon.
Seethyr wrote:Homebrew/Canon Mix for Anchorome

1. The Esh Alakarans were Spellweavers and their ruins were once a Spellweaver Node that blew up when their empire crumbled millenia ago (Dragon Magazine 338). Four spellweavers will still be alive and occupying the ruins with one finally ready to reproduce. According to the Dragon Magazine article on the Spellweavers, this only occurs once every 3600 years. The spellweavers brought the thri-kreen to Toril from an "unknown world" (yes, I'm trying to make an Athas connection here) because the Spellweavers believed they held a piece of the magic that could reverse their empire's destruction (again, from the Dragon article).
I didn't realise the spellweavers had an empire. Do you think it was a multi-world empire, with a colony on Anchrome, or do you think they made a one-off trip to Athas to support an empire on Toril? :?

The 3,600 year thing sounds a bit like the Mezoamerican calendar cycle. I know that calendar was based on the movement of Venus (in the real world) so would presumably be based on the movement of Coliar in Realmspace. :?

I wonder if 3,600 years ties into the movement of Karpri, Chandos, Glyth, Garden or H'Catha. I wonder if it ties into anything like a comet. Does the article explain why they can only reproduce every 3,600 years?

A Dark Sun connection would be fun, but you have two issues there:
  • DMs Guild does not allow you to refrence Dark Sun/Athas and
  • Dark Sun is said to be off the known spaceways in CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (which is also not yet available to DMs Guild authors).
The first thing is a legal blocker. Maybe in six months Dark Sun will be available to DMs Guild (they are going to add other settings) but for now anything other than inspiration from Dark Sun is going to stop you going live with this (unless you publish it as conventional fan material).

The second thing is more of a thing that you need to address, than a "do not use Dark Sun" thing. Night Druid already created a Dark Sun crystal sphere. All you really need is some sort of logic to explain why spellweavers can bring thri-kreen to Toril from Athas, without it making the existence of Spelljamming known to the Sorcerer Kings. You could have them take thri-kreen from another part of Athas or you could go with the 3,600 year cycle thing and jump back in time one, two, three or four cycles until you get so far back that the Sorcerer Kings were not around. Then it could be "lost knowlege".

However, doing that restricts GMs to a Anchorome/Arcane Age Dark Sun connection. You might allow GMs to get more out of this (and avoid breaking DMs Guild rules) by keeping this vague enough that it could be Athas or somewhere else.

If you really really must connect Anchorome to Dark Sun, then you might want to give the spellweavers (or previous spellwavers) access to a Planar Sphere (which featured in the Balder's Gate game). That would allow a straight hop from one world to the other.

I'll have to catch up on your spellweaver topic. It's probably best to thrash this stuff out over there.
Seethyr wrote:2. The races of the area will include the canonical Azuposi, elves, dwarves, halflings, hill giants and thri-kreen, but will also add spirit folk further north (brought to the world on the back of a great Thunderbird from a spirit realm), sasquatch (not exactly, there was a similar creature in one of the MMs from 3e, but I can't remember their names) in a huge forested area, sahuagin in the nearby seas that worship Dagon - having been corrupted by Shalarin emissaries from the Sea of Corynactis) and possibly a race of cliff dwarves or even darfellan if I don't feel that is overdoing it.
I would love to know more about how the spirit folk arrived on a great Thunderbird. :)
Seethyr wrote:3. Thanks to some ideas from Candlekeep postings, and actual rumors from Ed Greenwood, I am thinking of connecting both the Spellweavers and the Thri-Kreen to the ancient god Jergal. Haven't quite figured out how yet, but someone on CK suggested that one of the remaining Spellweavers is actually an avatar of Jergal. It doesn't feel quite right yet...
I don't think I know Jergal. I'll have to look that up.

If making one of the existing spellweavers into an avatar or Jergal doesn't feel quite right, perhaps you could keep them all as they are and make one of the thri-kreen into an avatar of Jergal instead. You should have more thri-kreen to spare, that stealing one of the will not have much of an effect.
Seethyr wrote:So anyway, I am open to suggestions as always or simply just interest in the topic. On my last project, I wrote out a massive Table of Contents first, then tried to write up each section one at a time. It seemed inorganic to me and this time I am just going to write as I go. I don't know what this will eventually include as a project, but certainly there will be 5e updates to almost all of City of Gold.
I would suggest looking at Legends & Lore. It's a core 2nd Edition rulebook, so it's got to be open for use on DMs Guild and it has both an American Indian Mythology chapter and an Aztec Mythology chapter that you could potentially raid ideas from. (Actually, the only chapter you can not raid from is the one with Newhon Mythology.)

There is a lot of stuff in Forgotten Realms history about the cultures with real-world Mythology coming from other worlds in the past. So it might be more appropriate to use Legends & Lore canon as the basis for worlds that people came to Toril from, rather than reboot Anchorome to fit in exactly with what Legends & Lore says.

But either way ("shoehorn it in" or "reboot it via a trip from another world") I think that you could include a 5e version of the Spirit Animal Form spell, the Bad Medicine spell (and it's reverse - Good Medicine).

I think you could also include the magic item Sacred Bundle.

I think you could possibly also extrapolate other spells and magic items that follow similar principles. I really like the idea of a Sacred Bundle being something a hero constructs themself, that is useless to anyone else. It's a totally different theme from the usual thing of powerful wizards making stuff, as the Shaman just helps the hero to complete the process (instead of doing the work for them).

Running through the American Indian deities, here is what I see:
  • Great Spirit: According to L&L this deity is also known under other names including: Master of Life, Father of the Sky, Great Mystery, Wakonda, Tirawa, Arch of Heaven, and the Kitcki Mnitou. That would suggest that you could use Great Spirit in 8 different Anchorome civilisations under different names, without departing from L&L canon. :)
  • Sun: L&L says that Sun is also called Shakuru, so you could have people in Anchorome referring to Realmspace's sun as Shakuru. Sun's priests use birds to send messenges to the Upper World. This sounds very similar to the Maztican/Aztec (I forget which) sacrifice of butterflies (with the butterflies flying out into space), although L&L says it is another plane.
  • Moon: L&L says that Moon is also called Pah, so you could have people in Anchorome referring to Realmspace's moon as Pah. Toril already has at least two other moon gods, but I wouldn't let that stop me using another one.
  • Earth: According to L&L this deity is also known under other names including: Earth Mother, Nokomis and the Grandmother. That would suggest you could use Earth in 4 different Anchorome civilisations under different names, without departing from L&L canon. Priestesses of Earth also carry out two ceremonies (the Blessing of Spring and the Sacrifices of Fall) and you could probably give these an Anchorome makeover and use them to tie the Anchorome calendar into the religion. :)
  • Morning Star: I'm not sure if this is supposed to be Venus or Mercury, but I suspect that Venus is more likely to be the right planet for this deity, so that could make that into the local name for Coliar. (Otherwise it could be the local name for Anadia.)
  • Wind: L&L says that Wind is also called Hotoru. So you could use Wind in 2 different civilisations under different names, without departing from the L&L canon.
  • Fire: L&L says that Wind is also called Hastesezini. So you could use Fire in 2 different civilisations under different names, without departing from the L&L canon.
  • Thunder: L&L says that Thunder is also called Heng or the Thunder Bird. So you could use Fire in 3 different civilisations under different names, without departing from the L&L canon.
  • Raven: Raven is an animal spirit.
  • Coyote: Coyote is an animal spirit.
  • Snake: According to L&L, Snake has complete control over all scaled creatures within his sight, even supernatural ones and dragons.
  • There are also many different spirits, manifestations or "manitouse" of the magical power contained in all things.
L&L also lists four American Indian heros (Hiawatha, Stoneribs, Quqwaaz and Yanauluha). It might be worth creating new heroes for Anchorome, although these could work for inspiration.

Finally L&L has three American Indian monsters: Big Head, Gahonga and Ohdowa. It might be worth reviewing the three of them and deciding if they should be found anywhere within Anchorome.

I don't know how true L&L's American Indian stuff is to Native American culture, but if you did convert some or all of this stuff, it would be useful to anyone who liked Legend & Lore. (You might even want to copy it into a separate document that only included an L&L update, for anyone not interested in Maztica.)

One last suggestion. I have heard that Vikings visited North America, in the real world. Maybe you could look at Northwest Faerûn to see if there is a replacement group for the Vikings, that could have sailed across to the far north of Anchorome.
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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Seethyr » Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:28 am

Good to hear from you BM! I know this was a region you had a significant interest in, and I'm really glad I could finally get to it (after a dozen other projects an 6 years of discussion!)
Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:Way back in 2013, a great discussion on the northern Torillian continent of Anchorome was discussed right here on The Piazza then it just seemed to die. I can't stand to see a good idea go to waste, and have decided to take it up as my next major project for DMS Guild. In truth, I would like this to be as extensive as The Maztica Campaign Guide or at the very least, the Lopango sourcebook. If it gets completed, that effectively covers every "True World" continent other than Katashaka far far to the south, but that is a project for another year. Speaking of years, The Maztica Campaign Guide took more than a full year to write...I'm hoping this one is done in 6 months.
Hmm. If this was not for DMs Guild, I would suggest searching for ideas that have already been written and then combining them. But that's against DMs Guild rules. It does however say that you can raid ideas from D&D books (that are covered by the DMs Guild licence).
The DMS Guild rules seem to have been slightly more lenient than I had originally thought. I think that discussing ideas on forums doesn't necessarily violate their intended rules. I simply believe they don't want you to sell a product on DMs Guild and then sell it again somewhere else (or offer it for free). I can't imagine exerpts or development being an issue. I almost feel like they'd encourage it since every time a product is put up, they make some cash.
Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:For those of you that don't know what Anchorome is, originally it was designed as a set of islands by Ed Greenwood in his original campaign. This is a far cry from the massive continent which is often labeled as "terra incognita" in various FR products now.

There is not much known about Anchorome, but off the top of my head, I will summarize every fact that I can remember which is official...

Facts about Anchorome

1. The southern portion is occupied mainly by a race of humans known as the Azuposi. As the name suggests (gotta love the 90s and its tendency to change cultural names just a little), these people are based off of the Anasazi/Pueblo Native Americans from the SW United states and northern Mexico. These folk believe strongly in spirits (religion is basically animism), live in pueblo homes in a fertile canyon, have a primary city called Michaca (aka the City of Gold), and are heavily featured in FMQ1 City of Gold.
I guess that it would be possible to do research into the real Anasazi history, to look for legends connected to the spirits, that could be adapted to the Azuposi. Although you have to be careful with that sort of stuff (especially when the D&D version of something is labelled as "evil"). I would say that capturing the style of the Pueblo people would be more important than doing a one-to-one translation.

Anyhoo, these guys could probably get developed in their own topic. :)
They are heavily detailed in FMQ1 City of Gold. I think the Azuposi are going to be the easiest of the "folk" to write up considering they can just be updated. Of course, I'll be adding new lore, otherwise the update becomes a bore for both an interested reader who knows the source material, and the author as well!
Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:2. Other races in the region include elves (known as the Poscadori Elves), Desert Dwarves, Halflings (Little Ones), Hill Giants, and even reportedly Thri-Kreen further north. There are other human groups as well (Metahel, Nahopaca, and Dog People).
That sounds a bit like Dark Sun. I wonder if some Dark Sun concepts could be given a Maztica reboot to remove stuff like the Sorcerer Kings and defiling magic and replace it with concepts closer to North American or Maztican stuff.
I agree, it really does sound Athas-like. The art in FMQ1 doesn't give that same impression though and the only connection to DS I am thinking about is with the Thri-Kreen (more on that later).
Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:3. There was a race of ancients in these lands once that left a set of ruins, a long standing bridge and some other monuments. They were known as the Esh Alakarans, but everyone is scared as heck about their ruins and noone knows who, or what they were (the elves might have a clue).
That sounds a bit like the Mysterious Cities of Gold! :)

Scratch that. It sounds a bit more like the ancients from Malatra: The Living Jungle. I'm not sure how easy it would be to raid from Living Jungle*, if you were going to put stuff on DMs Guild, but you might be able to do something that is similar, and not mention names.

* = Malatra is part of Toril, so could be put up on DMs Guild, but I don't know if all the documents belong to WotC or if they belong to the original authors. It could be that some of the documentation, but not the adventures are available to you. :?
I ended up going with Spellweavers for a number of reasons:

1. The article in Dragon 338 is utterly fantastic and piqued my interest majorly!
2. The race has been somewhat untouched, except in the old Dungeon Adventure paths which were set on Greyhawk and the Dragon article. There's a lot of leeway without stepping on any toes.
3. Coincidentally, one of the spellweavers in the Age of Worms Adventure Path is named Ma'kar. Esh Al'Akar??? The eymology seems to match nicely!
4. According to some sages on Candlekeep, the Spellweavers are connected to Jergal in Ed Greenwood's notes, as are Thri-Kreen. By the transitive property, the connections to the canonical thri-kreen could work as well.
Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:4. Balduran, the founder of Baldur's Gate, is the only well-known Faerunian to have come to Anchorome. Some say he was killed and buried here by the elves on a return trip, but video game canon had him killed by lycanthropes on nearby islands.
There has to be plenty of information about Balduran online. Maybe we should have a topic about him. :)
Researched him to death. I've tried to include every bit I found along with filling in some blanks, including the semi-canon found in the Baldur's Gate Video Game.
Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:That is pretty much the extent of the canon material, and if you look at a map of Anchorome, you'll see that the lands occupied by the Azuposi are in the very southern reaches of a very LARGE continent. Imagine it is New Mexico compared to the whole of the US and possibly Canada.

Semi-canonically (and widely assumed on the internet) further north, there are the Realms equivalent of other Native American tribes.

So, all I have so far is a pledge from a phenomenal cartographer to develop a map and a write up of the histories and origins of the region through the eyes of each seperate culture. Here are some of the homebrew ideas I am working on in conjunction with the canon material.
All you have is a cartographer to make a map and write up the histories? :shock: All you have? :o That's probably going to get you half-way there! :cool:

There are a few maps of Anchorome around already. Do you think you could make a quck-and-dirty map that could be divided up into territories? If you can place nomadic nations onto a map, people could then go through the areas and build them one at a time. Maybe you don't have to build all of Anchorome in one go. Maybe you could have a grey area for the undeveloped bits and put in coloured nations, as people start to flesh them out from canon or fanon.
I can't wait to get permission to show what this guy can do. Honestly, he reminds me of HandsomeRob and Markustay in talent.

I am slowly adding features to old maps of Anchorome and the ones from FMQ1 to represent what might have occured in the time jump to 5e along with detailing regions left as "terra incognita" on the original maps. I am using butchered words from a variety of Native American languages to give life to these previously unnamed regions.
Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:Homebrew/Canon Mix for Anchorome

1. The Esh Alakarans were Spellweavers and their ruins were once a Spellweaver Node that blew up when their empire crumbled millenia ago (Dragon Magazine 338). Four spellweavers will still be alive and occupying the ruins with one finally ready to reproduce. According to the Dragon Magazine article on the Spellweavers, this only occurs once every 3600 years. The spellweavers brought the thri-kreen to Toril from an "unknown world" (yes, I'm trying to make an Athas connection here) because the Spellweavers believed they held a piece of the magic that could reverse their empire's destruction (again, from the Dragon article).
I didn't realise the spellweavers had an empire. Do you think it was a multi-world empire, with a colony on Anchrome, or do you think they made a one-off trip to Athas to support an empire on Toril? :?
According to the Dragon article, they were everywhere, but only had a single node on either a continent, planet or even plane. Their empire spanned the multiverse.
Big Mac wrote:The 3,600 year thing sounds a bit like the Mezoamerican calendar cycle. I know that calendar was based on the movement of Venus (in the real world) so would presumably be based on the movement of Coliar in Realmspace. :?

I wonder if 3,600 years ties into the movement of Karpri, Chandos, Glyth, Garden or H'Catha. I wonder if it ties into anything like a comet. Does the article explain why they can only reproduce every 3,600 years?
I'd run with this if they were solely a FR creature, but their physiology is universal across the empire. They actually only live 600 years, but then by draining a large quantity of magic items, they are "reborn" and can do this a total of 6 times. At the end of the 6th, they reproduce using a similar ritual (and I bet you guessed it, producing 6 offspring, each with the memories of the first!)
Big Mac wrote: A Dark Sun connection would be fun, but you have two issues there:
  • DMs Guild does not allow you to refrence Dark Sun/Athas and
  • Dark Sun is said to be off the known spaceways in CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook (which is also not yet available to DMs Guild authors).
The first thing is a legal blocker. Maybe in six months Dark Sun will be available to DMs Guild (they are going to add other settings) but for now anything other than inspiration from Dark Sun is going to stop you going live with this (unless you publish it as conventional fan material).

The second thing is more of a thing that you need to address, than a "do not use Dark Sun" thing. Night Druid already created a Dark Sun crystal sphere. All you really need is some sort of logic to explain why spellweavers can bring thri-kreen to Toril from Athas, without it making the existence of Spelljamming known to the Sorcerer Kings. You could have them take thri-kreen from another part of Athas or you could go with the 3,600 year cycle thing and jump back in time one, two, three or four cycles until you get so far back that the Sorcerer Kings were not around. Then it could be "lost knowlege".

However, doing that restricts GMs to a Anchorome/Arcane Age Dark Sun connection. You might allow GMs to get more out of this (and avoid breaking DMs Guild rules) by keeping this vague enough that it could be Athas or somewhere else.

If you really really must connect Anchorome to Dark Sun, then you might want to give the spellweavers (or previous spellwavers) access to a Planar Sphere (which featured in the Balder's Gate game). That would allow a straight hop from one world to the other.

I'll have to catch up on your spellweaver topic. It's probably best to thrash this stuff out over there.
I'm not terribly worried about just a brief mention of Athas. It has been done in FR products before, so technically aren't I referencing FR material? I mean, if I was updating DS or putting out a DS monster book, I could see it being an issue, but the only thing I want to do is say that Jergal's Avatar and the Spellweavers kidnapped thousands of thri-kreen from the world of Athas using a massive portal (like the one that brought the Mulan to Faerun). Jergal/Spellweavers are looking for a magical gem that can lead to the completion of what I think is called the Disjunction Ritual (from Dragon 338).
Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:2. The races of the area will include the canonical Azuposi, elves, dwarves, halflings, hill giants and thri-kreen, but will also add spirit folk further north (brought to the world on the back of a great Thunderbird from a spirit realm), sasquatch (not exactly, there was a similar creature in one of the MMs from 3e, but I can't remember their names) in a huge forested area, sahuagin in the nearby seas that worship Dagon - having been corrupted by Shalarin emissaries from the Sea of Corynactis) and possibly a race of cliff dwarves or even darfellan if I don't feel that is overdoing it.
I would love to know more about how the spirit folk arrived on a great Thunderbird. :)
:lol: :lol:
Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:3. Thanks to some ideas from Candlekeep postings, and actual rumors from Ed Greenwood, I am thinking of connecting both the Spellweavers and the Thri-Kreen to the ancient god Jergal. Haven't quite figured out how yet, but someone on CK suggested that one of the remaining Spellweavers is actually an avatar of Jergal. It doesn't feel quite right yet...
I don't think I know Jergal. I'll have to look that up.

If making one of the existing spellweavers into an avatar or Jergal doesn't feel quite right, perhaps you could keep them all as they are and make one of the thri-kreen into an avatar of Jergal instead. You should have more thri-kreen to spare, that stealing one of the will not have much of an effect.
I think you hit the nail on the head, and the connection now has a reason. The spellweavers wish to undo the destruction of their empire by turning back time thousands of years.

Jergal once abdicated his power to three mortals (Bane, Myrkul and Bhaal) pretty much because he was tired of his responsibilities. Maybe this independent avatar of Jergal who is posing as a spellweaver wishes to do the same so that he can get back his portfolios. It actually ends up making sense! I named the spellweaver/avatar Al'akar :) .

Big Mac wrote:
Seethyr wrote:So anyway, I am open to suggestions as always or simply just interest in the topic. On my last project, I wrote out a massive Table of Contents first, then tried to write up each section one at a time. It seemed inorganic to me and this time I am just going to write as I go. I don't know what this will eventually include as a project, but certainly there will be 5e updates to almost all of City of Gold.
I would suggest looking at Legends & Lore. It's a core 2nd Edition rulebook, so it's got to be open for use on DMs Guild and it has both an American Indian Mythology chapter and an Aztec Mythology chapter that you could potentially raid ideas from. (Actually, the only chapter you can not raid from is the one with Newhon Mythology.)

There is a lot of stuff in Forgotten Realms history about the cultures with real-world Mythology coming from other worlds in the past. So it might be more appropriate to use Legends & Lore canon as the basis for worlds that people came to Toril from, rather than reboot Anchorome to fit in exactly with what Legends & Lore says.

But either way ("shoehorn it in" or "reboot it via a trip from another world") I think that you could include a 5e version of the Spirit Animal Form spell, the Bad Medicine spell (and it's reverse - Good Medicine).

I think you could also include the magic item Sacred Bundle.

I think you could possibly also extrapolate other spells and magic items that follow similar principles. I really like the idea of a Sacred Bundle being something a hero constructs themself, that is useless to anyone else. It's a totally different theme from the usual thing of powerful wizards making stuff, as the Shaman just helps the hero to complete the process (instead of doing the work for them).

Running through the American Indian deities, here is what I see:
  • Great Spirit: According to L&L this deity is also known under other names including: Master of Life, Father of the Sky, Great Mystery, Wakonda, Tirawa, Arch of Heaven, and the Kitcki Mnitou. That would suggest that you could use Great Spirit in 8 different Anchorome civilisations under different names, without departing from L&L canon. :)
  • Sun: L&L says that Sun is also called Shakuru, so you could have people in Anchorome referring to Realmspace's sun as Shakuru. Sun's priests use birds to send messenges to the Upper World. This sounds very similar to the Maztican/Aztec (I forget which) sacrifice of butterflies (with the butterflies flying out into space), although L&L says it is another plane.
  • Moon: L&L says that Moon is also called Pah, so you could have people in Anchorome referring to Realmspace's moon as Pah. Toril already has at least two other moon gods, but I wouldn't let that stop me using another one.
  • Earth: According to L&L this deity is also known under other names including: Earth Mother, Nokomis and the Grandmother. That would suggest you could use Earth in 4 different Anchorome civilisations under different names, without departing from L&L canon. Priestesses of Earth also carry out two ceremonies (the Blessing of Spring and the Sacrifices of Fall) and you could probably give these an Anchorome makeover and use them to tie the Anchorome calendar into the religion. :)
  • Morning Star: I'm not sure if this is supposed to be Venus or Mercury, but I suspect that Venus is more likely to be the right planet for this deity, so that could make that into the local name for Coliar. (Otherwise it could be the local name for Anadia.)
  • Wind: L&L says that Wind is also called Hotoru. So you could use Wind in 2 different civilisations under different names, without departing from the L&L canon.
  • Fire: L&L says that Wind is also called Hastesezini. So you could use Fire in 2 different civilisations under different names, without departing from the L&L canon.
  • Thunder: L&L says that Thunder is also called Heng or the Thunder Bird. So you could use Fire in 3 different civilisations under different names, without departing from the L&L canon.
  • Raven: Raven is an animal spirit.
  • Coyote: Coyote is an animal spirit.
  • Snake: According to L&L, Snake has complete control over all scaled creatures within his sight, even supernatural ones and dragons.
  • There are also many different spirits, manifestations or "manitouse" of the magical power contained in all things.
L&L also lists four American Indian heros (Hiawatha, Stoneribs, Quqwaaz and Yanauluha). It might be worth creating new heroes for Anchorome, although these could work for inspiration.

Finally L&L has three American Indian monsters: Big Head, Gahonga and Ohdowa. It might be worth reviewing the three of them and deciding if they should be found anywhere within Anchorome.

I don't know how true L&L's American Indian stuff is to Native American culture, but if you did convert some or all of this stuff, it would be useful to anyone who liked Legend & Lore. (You might even want to copy it into a separate document that only included an L&L update, for anyone not interested in Maztica.)
These are fantastic suggestions and resources and I will probably raid every one of them! The Azuposi were the focus of FMQ1 but I am going to go into the spirit folk extensively. There are going to be hundreds of tribes, and each can use different legends, monsters, etc. from RW Native myth.

Big Mac wrote:One last suggestion. I have heard that Vikings visited North America, in the real world. Maybe you could look at Northwest Faerûn to see if there is a replacement group for the Vikings, that could have sailed across to the far north of Anchorome.
That reminds me a bit of the Metahel. But instead of Vikings, they came from Kara-Tur canonically. That is what lies west of Anchorome and geographically makes sense for their origin.

So, on a final note, I emailed Jon Nephew - one of FMQ1's original authors. I have spoken with him before and am hopeful for a response. Boy, if someone like that could write a short "Forward" for the the book, you couldn't imagine how excited I'd be!
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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Louis_bowwow » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:07 am

Oh yeah, this is the book I've been waiting for. So many random ideas have been floating around my head for years.

A few thoughts, I stole heavily from the 3rd edition environment books when it came to the races. Petrified forest elves, sea cliff dwarves, darfallen, shoal halflings. Anchorome is so big, there is room for a great many races. Shifters and changelings from eberron would work too.

I have the sea cliff dwarves living in the north west. They have domesticated giant king fisher birds and use them to fish for giant salmon. They are on good terms with the darfallen clans of the north and trade heavily with them.

The darfallen are the last in the world, having lost many of there people in wars with the sahuagin. They migrated north to colder waters to escape and try to rebuild there numbers.

Since a lot of the lands used to be inhabited by the batrachi, who used dopplegangers as spies, there could have been some interbreeding going on and over the generations, you would have small groups of changelings living in secret with the people.

Shifters would be easy, long ago, many of the tribes of the north worshipped beasts. There great champions could even take the forms of them(lycanthropes). Wanting to spread the power of the beast, they bread heavily with them and over the generations, they changed into shifters. Each tribe could have there own animal spirit that they are linked to(I.e. Wolf shifters, bear shifters, mountain lion, coyote, etc.)

Somewhere in my files, I have a document that was on maztica. I don't remember where I got it, but it detailed some interesting races. One was a natural animal shifter like the hengeyokai. I will have to see if I can find it.

I will post more random dead as I remember them. Feel free to use any of these.

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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Seethyr » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:25 pm

Louis_bowwow wrote:Oh yeah, this is the book I've been waiting for. So many random ideas have been floating around my head for years.
I remember how much you helpedme back in my 3e days, so that is excellent news! I want to hear them all!
Louis_bowwow wrote: A few thoughts, I stole heavily from the 3rd edition environment books when it came to the races. Petrified forest elves, sea cliff dwarves, darfallen, shoal halflings. Anchorome is so big, there is room for a great many races. Shifters and changelings from eberron would work too.

I have the sea cliff dwarves living in the north west. They have domesticated giant king fisher birds and use them to fish for giant salmon. They are on good terms with the darfallen clans of the north and trade heavily with them.

The darfallen are the last in the world, having lost many of there people in wars with the sahuagin. They migrated north to colder waters to escape and try to rebuild there numbers.

Since a lot of the lands used to be inhabited by the batrachi, who used dopplegangers as spies, there could have been some interbreeding going on and over the generations, you would have small groups of changelings living in secret with the people.

Shifters would be easy, long ago, many of the tribes of the north worshipped beasts. There great champions could even take the forms of them(lycanthropes). Wanting to spread the power of the beast, they bread heavily with them and over the generations, they changed into shifters. Each tribe could have there own animal spirit that they are linked to(I.e. Wolf shifters, bear shifters, mountain lion, coyote, etc.)
Every one of those just made it in :lol: Is that okay if use them and credit you?
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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Louis_bowwow » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:13 am

By all means. Feel free to use whatever I post. I can come up with the ideas, but actually fleshing them out and putting them to paper, I'm not so hot at.

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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Louis_bowwow » Sat Jun 25, 2016 3:53 pm

There was a post over at the candle keep forum about Anchorome in the 4E era. It was called Phalorm, the lost colonies. It has some interesting takes on what happened during Mazticas absence. You could probably mine it for ideas. Here is the link to the post.

http://forum.candlekeep.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=16099

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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Louis_bowwow » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:02 pm

Here are a couple of ideas for possible Underdark races.

The desmodu could be interesting. They are basically bat-folk. They domesticated giant bats as mounts. They have been driven close to extinction in Faerun by the Drow, but they could be widespread in Anchorome. I want to say they had a smaller offshoot of them that were traders. They could travel through the Underdark, come to the surface to trade with the surface folk, then go back under.

You could have a few "lost" tribes of Azuposi that stayed underground. Either they didn't want to go to the surface or they just got lost. Over the generations, they have degenerated into Skulks. Now they seek vengeance on their surface kin.

Just a few thoughts.

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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Louis_bowwow » Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:46 pm

Here is an idea for the swamp area just north of Fort Flame. You could do something similar to the Louisiana bayou but with halflings. They could ride around on flat bottom skiffs that are pushed by giant dragonflies, kinda like fan boats and live in floating villages or stilt homes. They are practitioners of Muerte shaping. Long decades spent in the dark bayou has made their skin pale and the explorers from Fort Flame call them the "little ghosts".

Long ago a group of halflings from Far Payit were cast out for practicing a new, dark form of magic. Muerte shaping, or death magic. They were able to raise the spirits of the dead(basically a Maztican form of necromancy). When the tribal elders found out, they cast them out, banishing them to never return again.

So these halflings traveled north, either by sea or by land, until they found a swamp that radiated muerte energies. Seeing this as kind of a "holy" land of sorts, they settle in, quickly overran the local bullywug population that inhabited the bayou and have lived there ever since.

When the settlers arrived and established Fort Flame, they sent out explorers to search the nearby areas for resources and treasures. The group that went north to the bayou, comes back claiming that it is haunted by " little ghosts" and skeleton frogmen. No further forays into the swamp have been attempted.

For now, the haflings sit in their swamp, watching the foreigners.

If you want, you could encorporate more ideas from Louisiana in there. Just a few thoughts.

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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Seethyr » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:27 pm

This project is back in business and I am trying to commission a map. They are quite pricey but I think this book may be my swan song and I am looking to go through with it. I want this to be my best and set a new campaign location for others to use. Once I get the map made up, it will be the first thing I post here. The ones I found online just aren't cutting it for me - particularly since I want to name some of the unnamed regions.
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Re: Anchorome Campaign Guide [5e] Workshop

Post by Jürgen Hubert » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:08 pm

I'd like to point out my "Ghost People of Anchorome" thread, which fits perfectly and is inspired by H.P. Lovecraft:

viewtopic.php?f=39&t=18944
Returned Maztica - a new vision for Maztica in the 5th Edition era of the Forgotten Realms! Learn how the continent has changed after invasions and dragonfire, and take part as the people of Maztica finally take their destinies into their own hands!

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