More Sword & Sorcery

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bestialwarlust
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More Sword & Sorcery

Post by bestialwarlust » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:43 pm

What would you do or have done to Mystara and Karameikos to take a more sword and sorcery vibe?

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Morfie
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by Morfie » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:05 pm

Probably used them as they were in the pre-GAZ era. There wasn't much detail, populations were very low.

For Karameikos in particular, maybe emphasise the slavery in the Black Ring, if you were going for a Conan-type adventure.

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JamesMishler
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by JamesMishler » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:29 pm

Demihumans would have to either be changed to humans or be inimical.

For example, change the dwarves to mountain-tribesmen (Cimmerians) and the elves to forest tribesmen (Picts), and make them inimical or at least unfriendly to other humans.

Halflings could be changed to pygmy humans and remain seemingly friendly but actually have a Dark Secret of the One They Serve.

Magic -- much less common, much more mysterious. This mostly affects Glantri. For Glantri, each prince would be the ULTIMATE in their type of magic, and they'd be served by a handful of powerful apprentices, and that would be all the magic there was (no "magic as everyday technology" or Great School of Magic). The True Masters of Glantri live in the Colossus Mountains at Lhamasa, and are more like the Black Masters of Yimsha than goofy yogas.

Alphatia would be known only through rumor and legend on the continent, and Alphatians would be more like the inhuman Melnibonéans or Hyperborians.

"Good guys" like Duke Stefan would me more "neutral," while evil guys like the Black Eagle Baron would be vile cultists.

The Immortals would be distant and silent; churches would be more pagan like than Christian analogues; dark cult gods like Arik would be more prevalent.

Monsters would be more unique, and tied to a specific locale or area, and have a history and background.

Humanoids would be more like sub-humans/cave-men rather than distinct races.

For example, the Caves of Chaos would be home to a cult of Traladarans or Thyatians served by the local sub-human cavemen, which prior to the coming of the cult, were small clans at each other throats all the time. The caves themselves would be remnants of the civilization of a prior age, say, the Traldar Age, and filled with treasures from that era, including the treasures of the mysterious and inhuman Hutakaans.

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ghendar
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by ghendar » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:25 am

Morfie wrote:Probably used them as they were in the pre-GAZ era. There wasn't much detail, populations were very low.
This is the first thing I would do. You have to strip away much of what came later.
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rabindranath72
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by rabindranath72 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:57 am

Have a look at Primeval Thule (there's a free Player's Guide on drivethrurpg) for a recent example of how to keep demihumans in a D&D setting, and making it more S&S-ish. For original TSR stuff, Dark Sun does the same.
My current games use B10 and information in the Expert Set as the basis to describe Karameikos. For a little weird/horror twist, I am also using stuff from Realms of Crawling Chaos (spells, monsters, tomes, magic items.) Goblins worship Shub-Niggurath, for example :twisted:

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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by JamesMishler » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:24 am

Oh, another good source would be Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Totally humano-centric, but totally has the S&S vibe.

bestialwarlust
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by bestialwarlust » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:34 pm

Thanks a lot fo good stuff to consider.

bestialwarlust
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by bestialwarlust » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:44 pm

rabindranath72 wrote:Have a look at Primeval Thule (there's a free Player's Guide on drivethrurpg) for a recent example of how to keep demihumans in a D&D setting, and making it more S&S-ish. For original TSR stuff, Dark Sun does the same.
I do have that. I'll have to take another look.
rabindranath72 wrote: My current games use B10 and information in the Expert Set as the basis to describe Karameikos. For a little weird/horror twist, I am also using stuff from Realms of Crawling Chaos (spells, monsters, tomes, magic items.) Goblins worship Shub-Niggurath, for example :twisted:
That's the direction I'm leaning. I do have the Realms of Crawling Chaos and was thinking of using the old ones for most of the chaotic cultists and stuff but I'm somewhat undecided on clerics I do think I want to keep them but I'm not sure if I should have gods or immortals for them.

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JamesMishler
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by JamesMishler » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:25 pm

bestialwarlust wrote:I'm somewhat undecided on clerics I do think I want to keep them but I'm not sure if I should have gods or immortals for them.
Idols.

All the good sword & sorcery settings have idol worshippers, where the idol is the god; no church rules over all, each temple has its own idol, tended by the High Priest, and it is through the idol (and the holy symbols, magically tied to the idol) that the clergy wield their power.

This is why conquerors who found other gods loathsome cast down the idols; cat down the idols, kill the god within.

Shrines have smaller idols of the god, but it is the main temple that houses the god.

And kin the olden days, when people needed a new god, they created one (e.g. the "Golden Calf").

So the Temple of Karameikos has a new god (or gods), a god (or gods) of Karameikos, not a god of Traladara or a god of Thyatis. And as the power of a god is proportional to the number of its worshipers, the clergy of the Temple of Karameikos do all they n to convert the unbeliever.

Or perhaps they create a new god similar to the god of Thyatis, and take some of the lesser gods (idols) of Traladara, for a new temple of Karameikos...

bestialwarlust
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by bestialwarlust » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:07 pm

JamesMishler wrote:
bestialwarlust wrote:I'm somewhat undecided on clerics I do think I want to keep them but I'm not sure if I should have gods or immortals for them.
Idols.

All the good sword & sorcery settings have idol worshippers, where the idol is the god; no church rules over all, each temple has its own idol, tended by the High Priest, and it is through the idol (and the holy symbols, magically tied to the idol) that the clergy wield their power.

This is why conquerors who found other gods loathsome cast down the idols; cat down the idols, kill the god within.

Shrines have smaller idols of the god, but it is the main temple that houses the god.

And kin the olden days, when people needed a new god, they created one (e.g. the "Golden Calf").

So the Temple of Karameikos has a new god (or gods), a god (or gods) of Karameikos, not a god of Traladara or a god of Thyatis. And as the power of a god is proportional to the number of its worshipers, the clergy of the Temple of Karameikos do all they n to convert the unbeliever.

Or perhaps they create a new god similar to the god of Thyatis, and take some of the lesser gods (idols) of Traladara, for a new temple of Karameikos...
Will have to incorporate that idea. I've stolen a bit from primeval thule:
"The gods of the known world are more secretive or aloof than those of many places. is is not a land where gods move mortals like chess pieces or appear in shining visions to direct their followers to take on quests or launch crusades. A cleric is generally left to his own devices and determines the nature of his service on his own."

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Cthulhudrew
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:52 pm

JamesMishler wrote:Idols.

All the good sword & sorcery settings have idol worshippers, where the idol is the god; no church rules over all, each temple has its own idol, tended by the High Priest, and it is through the idol (and the holy symbols, magically tied to the idol) that the clergy wield their power.
This brings to mind the picture of the early Flaemish from "A History of Glantri" (Gaz3, p. 4). Perhaps a "sword and sorcery" take on Glantri might be to have the Radiance be one of these sort of idols, with the "Princes" of Glantri effectively religious leaders (albeit still magic-users, rather than clerics).
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ripvanwormer
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:32 pm

JamesMishler wrote:This is why conquerors who found other gods loathsome cast down the idols; cast down the idols, kill the god within.
One thing the Romans used to do was capture foreign gods and bring them back to their own temples in order to take their power for themselves.
Cthulhudrew wrote:This brings to mind the picture of the early Flaemish from "A History of Glantri" (Gaz3, p. 4). Perhaps a "sword and sorcery" take on Glantri might be to have the Radiance be one of these sort of idols, with the "Princes" of Glantri effectively religious leaders (albeit still magic-users, rather than clerics).
I can imagine a secret cavern beneath an old palace in Glantri City where a mystery cult, made up of the most powerful princes and their heirs, worships an ancient, derelict starship engine as a god.

bestialwarlust
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by bestialwarlust » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:50 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
JamesMishler wrote:Idols.

All the good sword & sorcery settings have idol worshippers, where the idol is the god; no church rules over all, each temple has its own idol, tended by the High Priest, and it is through the idol (and the holy symbols, magically tied to the idol) that the clergy wield their power.
This brings to mind the picture of the early Flaemish from "A History of Glantri" (Gaz3, p. 4). Perhaps a "sword and sorcery" take on Glantri might be to have the Radiance be one of these sort of idols, with the "Princes" of Glantri effectively religious leaders (albeit still magic-users, rather than clerics).
Interesting I'll have to look at that I haven't read my Glantri Gazetteer in a while. I'll mostly be working off the map from X1 and use very little from the Gazetteer's in this version. Once I work that far north I'll need to figure out what I'll do with Glantri it will definitely be a place ruled by corrupt mages still. A couple of ideas I had:

Keep as a Magocracy, but ignore all the magical wonders.
Mundanes are second class citizens
Religion is still outlawed
Learning magic can be done but it's highly expensive and the average citizen doesn't have the money to learn.
Instead of the great school the ruling families may kidnap citizens they think have magic potential and if they don't then the kidnap victims are used for experimental purposes.
Last edited by bestialwarlust on Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

bestialwarlust
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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by bestialwarlust » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:55 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
I can imagine a secret cavern beneath an old palace in Glantri City where a mystery cult, made up of the most powerful princes and their heirs, worships an ancient, derelict starship engine as a god.
And maybe over such a long time it has taken on a sentience of some sort or some great old one has merged with it. Now it's become some sort of formless creature of radiation it "gifts" it followers with clerical powers and the side effect is some variant on radiation sickness, boils, sores, etc...maybe even mutations, that it's followers can spread. It's whole goal is to sicken all it can with it's radiation poisoning. Mongrelmen from AD&D could be ported over as it's chosen.

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Re: More Sword & Sorcery

Post by rabindranath72 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:51 am

A simple twist on clerics I used in my S&S campaigns, is that they MUST be Chaotic. This means that they will mostly cast the reversed/harmful forms of spells, and reserve the direct/helpful forms only for "friends" and people who worship the same entities/immortals/gods/demons/whatever, and always in exchange for some service/money. This might make them unsuitable as PCs, depending on your campaign, and in any case make Lawful and Neutral recipients of healing at least a bit worried about entering any agreement with the cleric.

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