Rolling up Baddies

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    • Rolling up Baddies

      Hey folks! I'm really enjoying the concept of Shard and Dardunah, we'll be starting our story this upcoming Saturday.

      On that basis, I have a loose aggregation of just what the problems, and motivations of my players will be; we're all loose/first time Table-top players, so a little storyline push is probably more than useful.

      However, I'm not certain just what sort of enemies to create. To avoid a dissertation, the City of Hadrah is going to find its river suddenly lacking flow and nearly drying up from a Hardazi Clan (maybe) damming the flow in a sudden push of aggression on the Sustrumi border. Obviously they don't know, but being part of the same House not high up in their Line, they'll be dispatched to see if they can remedy and gain favor for the House.

      That's the basics of it. So far I have a "battlemaster" of the house, who my PCs will be practicing/training with on their first combat scene, but otherwise I'm at a loss for a more specific, natural or sentient deflector against their eventual efforts.

      Clearly there'd be the Hardazi savages themselves. But aside from those cookie-cutteresque representatives, I feel lacking in Dardunahic knowledge to be able to flesh things out better or more appropriately in different sectors of the world; the city, the environs around it, etc.

      I'm just requesting some community brainstorm power, or food for thought to maybe jumpstart my creative gears again.
    • RE: Rolling up Baddies

      Hey there Rekeme!

      Welcome to the forums!

      Sounds like a pretty cool campaign concept you've cooked up!

      I'm hoping I'm understanding what you're wanting to know as I answer this,...but a good section to check out as you're designing the various House dignitaries is page 29 of the Basic Compendium... There you'll find some great information about the general structure of the Houses, and the various social roles that important members of the House play, such as the arena master and the weapons master, either of whom might fill the role you've described as "battlemaster"... Check 'em out and see what you think!

      Additionally, check out page 139 in the Basic Compendium where we describe the various Noble Professions... Not only do we talk about some of the higher-ranking officials of a nation like Sustrüm, where you are basing your scenario, but we later describe the Khan and Chieftain of the Hardazi there, and then later on page 143 we describe the Dáru Priests of the Hardazi as well... Those brief descriptions, plus what we touch upon the History section will hopefully inspire your creation of "baddies", at least from a fictional perspective... We don't really have a "Hardazi Barbarian" Profession Template for you to work from,...but start with all the most brutal and basic fighting skills and imagine if Conan (the barbarian, not the comedian) was a wolverine as you are creating it, and you won't stray far from something good...

      Also,...when fleshing out some of the Hardazi stuff, think about the Mongol Horde and Genghis Khan... Or even "Mongolian Warlords mixed with Vikings"... You may derive some fun inspiration from that stuff...

      Personally,...when I was first running the Hardazi in my campaign, I was inspired by the very barbaric-seeming anthropomorphic badger/bear-like race in a book calledThe WEIGHER by Marcia Martin and Eric Vinicoff... Here's the Synopsis:
      "Two human explorers discover an alien civilization based on a brutal code of honor and hand-to-hand combat, but unless they can learn to survive in this alien world, their mission will be short-lived... The closest thing to a government official that her anarchistic species would tolerate, Slasher (a "Weigher", a sort of brutal judge among her kind) was also several hundred pounds of fanged and taloned fury, well-equipped to win in the ritual combat of her people. But Slasher did not realize that by defending the two fangless, clawless human explorers to her world, she would become a disgraced outcast."

      The barbaric race in this book had a sort of Mongolian/Native American nomadic tribal feel to their culture, which is something that Aaron had mentioned early on that the Hardazi were like... I found this book later and it really helped me visualize that concept mixed with vicious bestial demeanor...

      Pretty fun stuff... It was a Hugo Best Novellette nominee in 1985...

      Scottie ^^
    • So glad to be of help!

      As a special treat, since several folks on this forum have already mentioned their desire to use the Hardazi in their own setting, here is an essentially un-edited exerpt from what will eventually become their listing in the World Guide. It is written from the standpoint of a devout Mahist schollar, so forgive the flowery verbiage (it's just his personal style)...heh:

      Hardazi Khanate – Khanate, land of wind-swept steppes and forbidden mountains.
      Ruler: The Great Khan Mük-Sarsúr, male wolverine, leader of all the Hardazi Clans.
      Ruling Class: Primarily wolverines, bears, badgers, etc. However, the Hardazi do not conform to a caste system, as does the rest of Dárdünah. It is the strongest and smartest of warriors, male or female, which take leadership roles.
      Cultural Paradigm: Mongolian nomadic culture, both visually as well as functionally, mixed with various tribal “hunter-gatherer” social aspects.
      Jánah Type: Mainly wolverines, a variety of badgers and bears, as well as some wolves, wild boars, and other such jenu-types which seem to have a tendency toward large, somewhat feral and brutish countenances. Always furred vajrah, never sarpah or paksin of any kind unless they are being kept as property.

      To the north of Sustrüm’s current borders and the endless miles of the Sukhana Forest, well beyond any areas that the jánah of that Amín have chosen to inhabit, lay the vast tracts of unwelcoming thorn-brush and tropical scrub known as the Kaduapátha, the “harsh lesson”. And indeed, this region seems aptly named, for very little of value has ever been discovered here. For hundreds upon hundreds of centuries there have been attempts at settling along the various rivers that flow through it, but all have failed, not only because of the scarcity of resources, but also due to the violent incursions of the nomadic barbarians who call themselves the Hardazi.

      It was over a thousand years ago, near the end of the Wars of Twilight, that recent histories tell us of the appearance of these tribal peoples, but it would be much later before those few explorers who had encountered them and survived actually brought to light the more ancient tales of the Hardazi, translations of the Dáru Scrolls (their holy writings), and the understanding of their blasphemous religious ways. When they first made themselves known, the armies that were fighting against Visedhárah marveled at the brutality with which these mysterious nomadic hordes would appear, and with feverous bloodlust hideously dispatch the sarpah invaders. Though this at first seemed helpful to the cause of the south, it became quite obvious that these barbarians had no intentions except slaying the sarpah, reacting with suspicion and violence if approached for parley by the southern armies. It was not until after the Wars had ended that this reclusive people chose to reluctantly communicate.

      Their understanding was simple; the lands within a week’s mounted journey south of the Mountains of Kthah from the Sea of Vigára to the Sea of Suvár belonged to them. Encroachment upon that land would mean death to those who dared it, in addition to terrible retribution against the country from where those people came. They said this land had been claimed in the name of their god Dar in the ancient days of the Thousand Years of Darkness when the foolish Mahists warred with one another. Furthermore, they claimed, within the mountains was a holy valley embraced by the “Arms of Kthah”, the Blessed Steppes, through which flows the river Shashin (called the Vákra River by the Sustrümi). The “evil craft” (skyships) that move through the air are detested by their god Dar, and those that try to pass within this valley would be struck from the skies by his mighty claws. Wanting to speak no more, and wishing to hear nothing of trade, the Hardazi retreated back into their forbidding mountains.

      These were no hollow threats, it seemed, for since that time very few contacts with the Hardazi have proven peaceful, and Sustrüm’s single attempt to retaliate against them for the destruction of several settlements close to the Hardazi borders ended in the near destruction of the fleet sent toward their steppes. The Hardazi responded to the approach with hidden cannons fired with deadly accuracy, much to the surprise of the invaders. The brutality with which the Hardazi carry out their pillaging and destruction upon those who stray too close to their native lands is well known, and to actually meet a Hardazi is to see the grisly reminders of their past victories, bones, skulls, and even the feathered, furred, or scaled skins of their enemies worn or carried in ritual display. They often take slaves to be traded in their market tents, which are pitched during the gatherings of their many clans.

      Still, there are those few, especially some of the simpler Rákbarani village folk that dwell near the southern shores of the sea of Suvár, who have found ways of dealing with them safely, and on such rare occasions the Hardazi may be willing to trade their exceptionally fine Yatah (giant spider) silks, and occasionally their mountain-bred riding chinti, for slaves, rare woods, oils, and especially colorful dyes.

      Within their Blessed Steppes, near the base of their holiest of mountains, rests the only city of the Hardazi, called Dar-Unaz, the “city of Dar”, ruled by their great khan. For the most part, the Hardazi gather together in nomadic tent-dwelling clans that move along the borders, and to and from various places within the interior of their lands. But in their extreme northern steppes, since the rise of the Khans within the last thousand cycles, a more permanent city has grown as part of the consolidation of the Great Khan’s power, and as a testament to the strength of the Hardazi people’s faith, which draws them there. This city lies in the shadow of the Holy Mountain of Kthah (from which the entire range derives its name), which is the home of Jara-Thand, the vast temple-city, and center for the brutal priesthood serving Dar’s faith. Beyond the temple of Jara-Thand, narrow and dangerous paths wind into the hidden areas of their holy places, supposedly a testing ground for acolytes of their faith who must journey deep into the mountains to hear the voice of Dar himself, return with sanity intact, and invoke the blood-rituals which will induct them fully into the priesthood. This mystic journey is said to reenact the trip taken by a holy monk who, over seven thousand years before, left the godlessly warring masses to travel into the blessed mountains to bring the wisdom of Dar, the one and only true god, to the wandering tribes of the Hardazi in the form of the Dáru Scrolls, transcribed by the monk in the very presence of Dar himself.

      As can be imagined, to those who follow the Mahist faith, thus believing in Mahiámbah and Mahitáytah, the Great Mother and Father, and their blessed children the Devah, the heathen belief of Dar is horrific blasphemy and beyond contempt. The Satyan Order, most powerful order of the Mahists, condemns the Dáru faith as utter heresy, seeking ways to end the worship of Dar and all it entails. In the meantime, however, the wandering Hardazi clans maintain a powerful presence in the north, defying all change and attempts at subjugation from within the protective circle of their holy mountains.
    • The Hardazi don't have to be mindless cannon fodder. Why are they blocking the river is the main question. Maybe they want Hadrah to die off. The Hardazi might have blocked the river for religuous purposes.

      Also who would gain in Hadrah by getting the Hardazi to block the river.
      For Example:

      Minkel a merchant is looking to move out of Hadrah. He has made a little money here but wishes to increase his holdings and status. Over the past couple years he has bought up all of the free flowing springs in the area. He has arranged for the Hardazi to block the river knowing the value of his spring water will increase exponentially. Minkel has studied the Hardazi religion and used this knowledge to convince their religuous leaders in this area that it is what their gods want.
      "One without crystal is without life"