[City] Building Urzud

Rebuilding the world in the wake of the Great Rain of Fire.

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[City] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Sat May 08, 2010 7:45 pm

I've been trying to flesh out the city of Urzud a bit more lately, and thought I'd share some of my efforts. There is still a lot of blank space on the map however, and I'd love if folks could share any ideas they have.

City of Urzud
Last edited by Chimpman on Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Sat May 08, 2010 7:47 pm

Here is a first pass at some descriptions for the city (it's still pretty rough):

Locations
1) The Great Wall - Constructed by monolithic stones sheathed in steel, the wall has miraculously remained mostly intact. The climate however is steadily taking its toll on the structure, as water and ice have peeled away the layer of steel in several places, undoubtedly helped along by beastman hands. Several tribes making their homes along the inner wall have been stripping the metal away for generations and using it to smelt weapons and armor.

2) Bastions - These six huge stone keeps are built along the inner length of the Great Wall, each pair flanking one of the three pits sunk into the city. Largely explored by the beastmen, the innermost sanctums may still yet hold secrets.

3) Eastern Gate - This small gate is surrounded by a gatehouse, and was intended as the main troop portal for the city in ancient times. Now it serves much the same purpose although now it is manned by the very creatures it was once designed to keep out.

4) Southern Gate - Large with huge steel doors that slide along the inner surface of the wall to open. The gate was obviously intended as an entrance for the colossal earthshakers that once operated from here, but are now frozen open by time and ice. The gates may still function as intended, but closing them now would destroy a myriad of makeshift structures attached to them or nearby on the ground. Instead Warwrag's Wargs, some of the largest warriors in Urzud, are tasked with keeping order here and insuring that enemies of the beastmen do not enter the sacred city.

5) Inner Wall - This section of wall surrounds the Southern Pit, although it has been breached in the north and east. Rubble causeways lead up from the pit to each of the breaches.

6) Shaker's Graveyard - The Shaker's Graveyard is the name given to the Southern Pit. It is filled with ramshackle huts and makeshift dwellings, and is always heavy with the smell of smoke and greasy fires.

7) Shaker Berths - These three colossal structures are lined with scaffolds and machinery once intended to house earthshaker war machines. Now the scaffolds are used by the Muur Smiths, as frameworks from which to construct hanging dwellings and workshops. The beastmen still put much of the machinery to good use, although probably not toward its original intentions.

8) Earthshaker Corpse - What appears to be the remains of a colossal headless suit of armor rest here, splayed out across the floor of the pit. The earthshaker has been smashed and abused over the centuries by vengeful beastmen who still maintain a cultural memory of such machines hunting their species. Now its insides are claimed by a number of different factions, among them the Bone Skulks, and several distinct religious cults.

9) Storehouse - multiple structures used to store the military's food supplies, now used as tribute vaults by the most powerful tribes.
9a)
9b)
9c)

10) Inner Lake - Fed water by the damaged mechanism of the city itself, the lake is brackish and foul, and probably fills several underground chambers as well as the area above ground.

11) Holy Ground - The raised center of the city is holy ground to the beastmen, and taboo prevents most from entering except on holy occasions.

12) Earshaker's Head - The severed head of the earthshaker (entry 8) was dragged here shortly after beastmen took the city. It is from here that the leading chieftains meet. Should any one of them unite the city, this would become their stronghold.

13) Central Vault - The largest structure in the city, the inner sanctums of the Central Vault have never been breached by the beastmen. Each year, amidst much pomp and ceremony, a single band of beastmen is selected to brave the dangers of the dungeon in an attempt to retrieve the fabled Blue Knife.

14) Roc's Nest - This massive tower connected to the Central Vault once held aloft the sacred Hawk of Andahar, though now the remains of that once majestic onyx icon lie smashed at its base. In its place several dark feathered rocs have taken up residence (from which the tower now receives its name). The inner chambers are the home of the Black Roc Wokani, a secretive society of wokani that terrorize the populace.

15) The Well - Another sacred site in the center of the city, the well is responsible for providing most inhabitants with water. Great machines still toil here day and night in order to bring clean water to most locations within the city walls.

16) The Sprawls - Pits, mud huts, and hide tents make up the vast majority of dwellings in the Sprawls, where most beastman tribes live outside the city's walls.

Special Materials
Andahar Onyx - Fragments of the Andahar Hawk are tended by the Black Roc wokani, and often used in the crafting of their magical totems and gri-gris.

Blackmoor (Muur) Steel - This steel, stripped from the facings of the Walls of Urzud, is one of the hardest and most resilient metals known on Mystara. The beastmen have managed to divine the secrets required to shape this metal, and will sometimes make exceptional weapons and armor from it. More often they trade it to the Troll Mages of Grondheim.

Organizations
Black Roc Wokani - A group of secretive and terrifying beastmen mages, based out of the Roc's Nest in the central city. These wokani mark themselves by wearing jet black feathers in their headdresses and robes, and are one of the few groups who can enter the sacred ground of the central city freely.

Ragar's Horde - Orc horde

Carmag's Horde - Beastman horde

Bone Skulks - A tribe of goblins that bases itself out of the earthshaker's corpse, the Skulks know every inch of the city and its surrounds. When acting openly they dress in white and wear some animal skull atop their heads, however when stealth is called for the Skulks have no restrictions. Currently the band is led by a sniveling, conniving goblin named Feari.

Muur Smiths - Several troupes of hobgoblins and like minded beastmen have banded together to take control of the earthshaker berths. Here they make their homes as well as their workshops. Their foundries are constantly burning and sending foul, greasy, smoke into the air.

Wawrag's Wargs - Filthy and mangy, these wolf-like humanoids are among Urzud's best hunters and trackers. A band of them guards the South Gate, but most can be found roaming about the countryside on the prowl for easy game or some cruel sport.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Hugin » Mon May 10, 2010 3:16 pm

Nice to see this area getting some attention. I like what you've done so far.

The question I have (since we've worked on the GazH Project together) is, do you plan on incorporating the base history that we came up with for Urzud? That history being, it was the "northern-most outpost" of the Blackmoorian Empire that was also affected by GRoF-causing, chain-reaction, nuclear cataclysm. Once the "dust" settled (i.e. nuclear fallout ;) ), the location was resettled by humanoids who considered it a conquest of the (predominately) elven lands.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Mon May 10, 2010 3:50 pm

Hugin wrote:Nice to see this area getting some attention. I like what you've done so far.

The question I have (since we've worked on the GazH Project together) is, do you plan on incorporating the base history that we came up with for Urzud? That history being, it was the "northern-most outpost" of the Blackmoorian Empire that was also affected by GRoF-causing, chain-reaction, nuclear cataclysm. Once the "dust" settled (i.e. nuclear fallout ;) ), the location was resettled by humanoids who considered it a conquest of the (predominately) elven lands.

That's pretty much my thought - although I haven't decided yet on the amount of destruction that actually happened in the stronghold during the GRoF. You can probably tell by the lack of damage that at this point I'm not imagining much of a blast happening there (there is a reason - see below). Fallout and rapid temperature changes would probably have been enough to deal with the Blackmoorians that survived there, and beastman hordes coming in after the fact would have taken care of the rest.

The "city" is really designed like a stonghold, and was indeed used as a launch point in the crusade against the beastmen. Note the three berths for Earthshakers in the southern pit. One earthshaker is accounted for here, another I deal with in my story, Man of War (this one will go on to become the Earthshaker of CM7 fame), and that leaves another one unaccounted for at the moment. There shouldn't bee too many pre-existing structures for accommodating living spaces (other than barracks) because there weren't Blackmoorian civilians living there. The beastmen will of course build these kind of things after the fact.

The Blue Knife I do want to tie into the Radiance. I'm thinking right now that it is the heart of the reactor for the stronghold and resides in that huge center structure. So far the beastmen haven't been able to get inside to claim the artifact. That's why I don't want the Blackmoorian chain reaction to have reached Urzud, because I want to keep the Blue Knife intact and in play during this era. At some point the humanoids do retrieve it, remove it from the city, and set off the Steel Wars. I think one of our conversations might have suggested that Urzud was within the anti-magic zone of the pole, which could have protected it from the catastrophe. Again, I haven't decided yet, but this (or something similar) is probably the route I'll take.

Thoughts, comments, or input? I've got a lot of pots on the fire ATM, so I really appreciate you being the GazH watchdog. I do want to make this setting as compatible as possible with that project.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Mon May 10, 2010 4:14 pm

Another thought I've been having - what if there were some Blackmoorian survivors in the city (hidden away in some deep recess) that could plague the humanoids after they've taken it? I'm not sure I want living Blackmoorians around, but what about something like the lightning zombies? Here is the premise:

Urzud's radiance reactor was far enough away from Blackmoor (or partially shielded by the AM zone of the pole) that it didn't go critical and explode when the chain reaction happened elsewhere - however it did send out a burst of radiation that altered the current inhabitants permanently. Most of the Blackmoorian defenders were killed by this blast, but some were turned into lightning zombies. There weren't enough of them to continue defending the stronghold from beastmen hordes, so they went underground - hiding in the secret places of the new "City of Urzud" and waging a silent war against their hated enemies. Perhaps one of the reactor engineers was transformed into a radiance lich. Perhaps others became death knights. Regardless, none of them can procreate, so their numbers are destined to dwindle until they finally die out. In the meantime maybe we can use them in BC 2300.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Seer of Yhog » Mon May 10, 2010 5:59 pm

Great stuff! I love the map - the headless earthshaker is a nice touch, too.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Hugin » Mon May 10, 2010 8:07 pm

Chimpman, once again we are on the same page! Love the earthshaker and blue knife tie-ins, btw, as well as the lightning zombie/undead idea.

My only objection would be having the polar anti-magic field over a reactor (simply because these were run as tecnomancy and need some magics to even operate in the first place). A way around that is to have the reactor farther away and feed power to the outpost/fort via power lines (which should be slightly underground in my opinion).

Either way, we agree that any explosion did not level Urzud by any stretch of the imagination.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Mon May 10, 2010 8:40 pm

Hugin wrote:My only objection would be having the polar anti-magic field over a reactor (simply because these were run as tecnomancy and need some magics to even operate in the first place). A way around that is to have the reactor farther away and feed power to the outpost/fort via power lines (which should be slightly underground in my opinion).

:mrgreen: This kind of structure might give our lightning zombies a place to live and hide!

Here is another idea I've been kicking around that might tie into the above. I was thinking of having some massive tunnels come into Urzud underneath the walls and opening up in the NW pit. Originally these would have been dug by some colossal burrowing creatures - purple worms or the like. Maybe they were directed against the city by the lightning zombies as part of some attack. If not actively directed, then perhaps they found and followed the underground passages from the power generator to the fortress/city proper.

Thinking further, having the reactor and the fortress separated could lead to other possibilities for development. Every year some enterprising tribe of humanoids enters the Central Vault in search of the Blue Knife. If the Knife isn't actually there (but passages do lead to it, far, far away) that might explain why none of the tribes sent in have ever returned (yet). They might still be searching somewhere underneath the city... and they might also be locked in a war with the lightning zombies.

All of this brings up another rather important question - where do we place Urzud? We may have to go back to Zomp's pre-cataclysm map and take a look. If Urzud was within (or near) to the polar AM zone, it could actually be very close to the KW - something I've never considered before, but that would be very good for the setting IMO.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Havard » Mon May 10, 2010 9:08 pm

The map is awesome! 8-) 8-) 8-) 8-)

I love the idea of Urzud being a Blackmoorian City originally. Geoff also mentioned how cool the Earthshaker's head is. This got me thinking about the Earthshakers. I like that they could be part of a bigger mythology than just a Gnome invention from that module. Sounds like Meks, Earthshakers and Robots could all be Blackmoorian remnants on Mystara.

I also like the idea of using Lightning Zombies (and Liches, Death Knights etc) here. The Mystara Monsterous Compendium did suggest that they exist beyond Korran Keep.

One thought though: Wasnt Urzud where Hel first created the Humanoids? If so, the Blackmoorian City would have been build on an older Humanoid/Entropic structure...

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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby OldDawg » Tue May 11, 2010 1:33 am

Havard wrote:I love the idea of Urzud being a Blackmoorian City originally.


That is the canonical presentation of Urzud.

One thought though: Wasnt Urzud where Hel first created the Humanoids? If so, the Blackmoorian City would have been build on an older Humanoid/Entropic structure...

No. They first appeared in the "Borean Valley" writ large - presumed to be the same geographic territory then as today, just with N-S flipped.

FWIW, the Borean river confluence on the KW Map should map to about 68N latitude (yeah, Matlab) under the AVP=NP assumption. For LoZo's map, consider that estimate +/-3 degrees. Urzud should be within a few degrees of that, depending on the spot. If you equate NP with OW/HW opening (I don't necessarily assume this), then this area was well beyond the AM region, which should be entirely contained within the AVP (or KW).

For additional points of comparison, the modern southern boundary of Borea is approx. 75N, the mouth of the Borean River is 51N (simple rotation estimate only), the Cradle is 60N, the Hills of Parthenal region is about 75N, the Black Mountains hit the sea at 64N, the northernmost (modern) Norwold mountains are 60N, Blackmoor City is 45N,

FWIW 2: In GazF, Urzud was initially "Ice Station Urzud," an arctic monitoring post set up near the Borean confluence after the beastmen crusades pushed the beastmen into the polar depths. I conjecture that the Urduks were actually survivors of Urzud (or another similar outpost) who had to vacate the city in search of food, thus following the animals to the "recovering" Black Mountains/Sind region.



I like that they [Earthshakers] could be part of a bigger mythology than just a Gnome invention from that module.

As per CM4, the gnomes discovered the Earthshaker, they didn't invent it.

Sounds like Meks, Earthshakers and Robots could all be Blackmoorian remnants on Mystara.

Concur.

Chipman, your map does not currently have a scale, but I think you may have underestimated just how big the Earthshaker is. It stands 1,280 feet tall. Although it could be that the there were multiple scales of meks/earthshakers.

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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Tue May 11, 2010 3:51 am

OldDawg wrote:Chipman, your map does not currently have a scale, but I think you may have underestimated just how big the Earthshaker is. It stands 1,280 feet tall. Although it could be that the there were multiple scales of meks/earthshakers.

Yeah, I wasn't sure about that. So rough estimate here, if we assume the image I drew really is 1,280 feet long, then that makes the city roughly 2.2 miles in diameter. Does that seem about right?

That might make the huts and such outside the walls a little too large. The Blackmoorian structures on the inside though, I want to be gigantic and colossal. The beastmen/humanoid structures on the other hand should be much smaller. The ones I've drawn in so far should be considered to be blocks rather than buildings in that case.

Anyway, thanks for the comment it's helped to solidify some things for me. I'll put a scale on the map and may try to rework the sizes of some of the humanoid structures.

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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Cthulhudrew » Tue May 11, 2010 6:25 am

This all looks really interesting; I'm getting a very Gamma-World-by-way-of-fantasy feel to the whole thing. Mutants (beastmen) inhabiting a ruined high-tech (magitech) and possibly radioactive city, complete with radioactive zombies (lightning zombies). :D
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Tue May 11, 2010 7:09 am

The city map has been updated. I added a scale, made the outer huts much smaller, and added a few more (as yet unnumbered) locations in the city.

Cthulhudrew wrote:This all looks really interesting; I'm getting a very Gamma-World-by-way-of-fantasy feel to the whole thing. Mutants (beastmen) inhabiting a ruined high-tech (magitech) and possibly radioactive city, complete with radioactive zombies (lightning zombies). :D

Yeah :D it's really starting to come together! Hmmm... I think it's lacking a bone lined arena where beastmen could gather to relax and watch vicious battles to the death...
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Cthulhudrew » Tue May 11, 2010 8:35 am

Chimpman wrote:Yeah :D it's really starting to come together! Hmmm... I think it's lacking a bone lined arena where beastmen could gather to relax and watch vicious battles to the death...


LOL!

I'm picturing the Steel Wars as a sort of Road Warrior-esque scenario now.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Seer of Yhog » Tue May 11, 2010 1:48 pm

This discussion reminds me of an old idea I bounced around on the MML a long time ago, in a thread developing Skothar. I had this idea that there was a region - the Plains of Rust (formerly Blackmoor's industrial heartland) - that was populated by goblinoid marauders who were constantly searching for fuel and other resources to power their crudely repaired vehicles (with large bits of jagged metal bolted and welded on - for extra protection and effect). Every so often they would swarm beyond their borders to grab food and slaves, and then scoot back home on their rusted half-tracks and other vehicles.

Perhaps we could borrow a bit from that idea and consider whether the inhabitants of Urzud are looking for "power water" or "flowing fire" to power some of the remaining ancient machines. Perhaps, as well, there might be one of two working vehicles (treat as a siege engine or something similar), originally used to help defend the complex, that the critters are holding back for the right time.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Havard » Tue May 11, 2010 3:59 pm

Seer of Yhog wrote:Perhaps we could borrow a bit from that idea and consider whether the inhabitants of Urzud are looking for "power water" or "flowing fire" to power some of the remaining ancient machines. Perhaps, as well, there might be one of two working vehicles (treat as a siege engine or something similar), originally used to help defend the complex, that the critters are holding back for the right time.


I like it, but rather than a liquid, I suggest that the Blackmoorians used Crystals in which they stored energy to power their devices.

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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Tue May 11, 2010 4:01 pm

Seer of Yhog wrote:This discussion reminds me of an old idea I bounced around on the MML a long time ago, in a thread developing Skothar. I had this idea that there was a region - the Plains of Rust (formerly Blackmoor's industrial heartland) - that was populated by goblinoid marauders who were constantly searching for fuel and other resources to power their crudely repaired vehicles (with large bits of jagged metal bolted and welded on - for extra protection and effect). Every so often they would swarm beyond their borders to grab food and slaves, and then scoot back home on their rusted half-tracks and other vehicles.

This is some pretty cool imagery! I don't remember these discussions from way back - maybe before I joined... or I just wasn't paying attention to Skothar.

Seer of Yhog wrote:Perhaps we could borrow a bit from that idea and consider whether the inhabitants of Urzud are looking for "power water" or "flowing fire" to power some of the remaining ancient machines. Perhaps, as well, there might be one of two working vehicles (treat as a siege engine or something similar), originally used to help defend the complex, that the critters are holding back for the right time.

I like these ideas.
Havard wrote:I like it, but rather than a liquid, I suggest that the Blackmoorians used Crystals in which they stored energy to power their devices.

Hmmm... maybe something that would tie in with Soul Crystals?
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Havard » Tue May 11, 2010 4:36 pm

Chimpman wrote:
Havard wrote:I like it, but rather than a liquid, I suggest that the Blackmoorians used Crystals in which they stored energy to power their devices.
Hmmm... maybe something that would tie in with Soul Crystals?


Exactly! That and the crystals Blackmoorian wizards use to channel their spells. 8-)

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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Cthulhudrew » Wed May 12, 2010 3:49 am

Building off of Geoff and Chimpman's ideas here, I wonder that this Urzud culture might not have been preserved in the Hollow World in and around the Blacklore Elf Valley. It always annoyed me that there wasn't much of anything else around them, and that their valley is so small. Having some "Blackmoor Scavengers" in the region as potential threats would help to make that region a bit more sustainable as a campaign setting in its own right.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Wed May 12, 2010 4:08 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:Building off of Geoff and Chimpman's ideas here, I wonder that this Urzud culture might not have been preserved in the Hollow World in and around the Blacklore Elf Valley. It always annoyed me that there wasn't much of anything else around them, and that their valley is so small. Having some "Blackmoor Scavengers" in the region as potential threats would help to make that region a bit more sustainable as a campaign setting in its own right.

I concur. I'd love to see some of this make it's way into the Hollow World.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Seer of Yhog » Wed May 12, 2010 1:55 pm

I could definitely one (or more) Immortals transporting this culture down there (perhaps secretly), as a means of forcing the Blacklore elves to defend themselves and become less decadent. Whether the underlying motive is malevolent or altruistic (in an offhand way) depends on the Immortal in question.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Hugin » Wed May 12, 2010 2:36 pm

Nice idea, Cthulhudrew! The elves around Urzud would have certain similarities to their Blacklore cousins but be more practical, hardened, and goal-oriented. A perfect contrast.
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Havard » Wed May 12, 2010 2:39 pm

I would also like to see an older Urzud culture preserved in the Hollow World. Maybe within the Ogre lands, that I placed on my draft [url="http://pandius.com/blorepen.html"]Blacklore map?[/url]

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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Thu May 13, 2010 12:25 am

Havard wrote:I would also like to see an older Urzud culture preserved in the Hollow World. Maybe within the Ogre lands, that I placed on my draft Blacklore map?

When you say older what time period are you thinking of?

I'm wondering if at some point the immortals would have copied the city of Urzud, or just moved the thing wholesale into the HW (perhaps modifying it to follow the same rules about technomancy as Blacklore does).
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Re: [Mystara 2300 BC] Building Urzud

Postby Chimpman » Thu May 13, 2010 7:14 am

I've updated the map, adding a few more major features - an arena, and several giant worm tunnels, as well as several more block complexes.
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