Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Kara-Tur - Some Thoughts - Part 1 - Overview

I started stewing on and decided to compile it here for ease of access.

any who my two cents.

1. It's going to be called Kara-tur - Lands of Enlightenment rather than Oriental adventures.  The way I see it, it's a more suitable title.
2. This is going to be as historically accurate to Asia as dungeons and dragons are to Europe. in other words, barely enough to count.
3. I'm taking full advantage of the fact that we've had two sunderings since the last book has been done so it can be reshaped as we see fit.
4. I'm going to follow the "points of light" model. aka most of the places are scary, at least until the big damn adventurers show up to kick ass.
5. I'll reskin and reuse most of the time, at least unless I feel something is missing.  we have a ton to work with.
6. I like races other than humans so expect a ton of them.
7. the following is chocked full of pop culture references so I apologize in advance.

okay with that in mind, here are my thoughts.

Shou Lung: aka the celestial kingdom is in shambles.  The last emperor is nearing death and he was rendered infertile, thus creating a future power vacuum.  As a result, each of the major families is jockeying for position to control the throne.  But their's a rumor that the emperor is seeking lichdom to extend his "mandate of heaven."

Shou Lung is a very multicultural and multiracial place as even those monster hordes that invade usually become Shou within a generation or two.  It also is known as the middle kingdom and has a similar property to sigil when it comes to accessing other planes of note.

T'u Lung:  In contrast, the T'u lung has never been stronger.  the acorn of Wo Mai was broken during the last sundering and now he rules these lands with an iron fist (think Aku from samurai jack for a sort of results).  This has continued the war between Shou and T'u for hundreds of years.  If Shou were united, they would have brought the smackdown, but Wo Mai's spies and warlocks are everywhere and continue to sow discontent in their northern neighbor.

Koryo:  The land of the Dragon Turtle main race is Dragonborn, not Human.  They are a proud people that have been split between the glorious purple empire of the north and the golden kingdom of the south.  They also see themselves as under siege from their neighbors and it is their pets that allow them to stay free, for just a little while longer.    In between the two Dragonborn kingdoms is the Kappa Kingdom, who keeps playing both factions off each other.

Kozakura: The Waring states are jockeying for position in the land of the samurai and ninja.  The last sundering has caused it to be known by it's another name: the land of a thousand oni.  Many were reshaped into monsters in body, if not in spirit.  Imagine the old anime hyperpolice with a healthy dose of war of all against all.

Talbot:  This isolated kingdom of Vanara is rumored to be in its own demiplane.  Despite being a peaceful place, these "yeti monks" often leave their homeland to seek "enlightenment" which usually causes problems for those that cross their path.

Wa:  The black demon ships of Wo Mai broke Wa's peace and they have been forced to look outwards, not inwards to adapt to a changing world.  think Ninja Scroll with a healthy dose of Rurouni Kenshin.  These can be played as humans against monsters or as horrible xenophobes based on story needs.

Plain of Horses:  The horseclans were once united under the great Yamun Khahan.   He created a Grand Army of the Tuigan who conquered a vast amount of land between Faerun and Kara-Tur until his death. After the resundering, a mysterious figure has returned to the clans.  Claiming to be Eke Bayalun, the wife of the great Yamun Khahan, she has managed to reunite many of the clans, despite being a woman.  Her contact with the spirits is unmatched anywhere in Kara-tur, as she claims she has been in the spirit world for centuries.  She sends her horseman everywhere in the known world, searching for Artifacts of previous eras, recruiting of people and monsters and using a hidden area as a natural conduit for ensuring that they return to glory and conquer all known lands.

Khazari:  Bayalun has been using this location as her diplomatic and communication center.  It has become a Casablanca like place where people from all over Kara-Tur interact on behalf of the great powers.

Ra-Khati:  This isolationist community has had no contact with the outside world since the spell plague and the sunderings, but recently it has been billowing purple smoke.  Is it a discovery of new magic?  Is it a beachead of evil forces from beyond the planes that they have become acolytes of?  Or maybe it's an announcement to the world that they are back and will use their secret weapon on any invaders?

Petan:  Even though it isn't quite right, A while back I heard an offhanded comment that Thailand was treated as the Transylvania of asia in media and asked about it.

aka a place of black magic, vampires and ghosts.

combine that with Angkor wat and historical Vietnam and Cambodia and serious potential for gaming.

Petan is a great place for that creepy place just before you get to horseclan territory, not unlike Transylvania in Europe.

Purang Tribes:  The Elemental Tribes were reborn during the resundering, with roughly a quarter becoming Gensai and a good chance that their children will become so.  Still fragmented, the four clans unite against outsiders as they were ethnically distinct even before the elemental transformation.   Raids on their neighbors are common, often complimented by elementals.

There were five clans, but one was exiled and driven underground for their heinous ways and all records of this tribe were stricken from all written records and stories.

Lathoan:  Once a small kingdom that warred with its neighbor, the mysterious Psycho Army, driven from both Shao Lung and T'u Lung, marched here.  Led by the mysterious M. Bao, who says it is her birthright to one day rule the entire world.  It has connections all over Kara-Tur, where it often muscles it's way into other criminal organizations and extorts far and wide.  A sizable chunk of its forces are Orcs that have been transformed into an effective fighting force and are often empowered by dark energy.  She uses massive concerts and auditoriums to keep her "minions" entertained that use mind control on the audience.

M. Bao is always looking for new fighters, new techniques and new forces where she has a once a year tournament where she recruits the brightest and the best and is willing to invite anybody in Toril.

She's also is known for having multiple magical clones of herself, not unlike alias in the finder stone trilogy, complete with magical tattoos that she uses to send as assassins as a "message."

Kuong Kingdom: The Kuong Kindom is the India analog of the area and where the originator of the Way came from.  This one mighty empire has been shattered into seven noble castes that vie for dominance in the name of the Lords of Creation and the Maharajah:

Bhallukha:  Monster Hunting Caste
Gandharva: Arcane Caste
Lakshmana: Courtier Caste
Kokaha: Raider Caste
Naga: Ascetic Caste
Singha:  Warrior Caste
Vriscika: Spy Caste

Many Devas make up the ruling castes and remember so everybody else doesn't have to.  This results in few written records beyond administration needs.

It is believed that this is one of the places where the Yuan-ti once ruled with an iron fist and are rumored to still pull strings to this day.

The resundering has shaken this order to its core.  A new religion from the underclass has started to rise up and has vowed to throw off their oppressors.  While it is claimed that the Yuan-Ti might be responsible, but it might be simply that new gods arose during this turbulent time and now want in.  What is known is the leader is simply known as Mr. X.

It is the land where Elephants are used for construction, Tigers are used as companions and Monkey's plague the streets.  Some of which are awakened and as intelligent as many human and can even assume humanoid form.  Many of these are responsible for the recent caste uprising.

<inspired by the oriental adventure enhancement done for the 3rd edition era>.

Malatra:  This area is now the home of the Saurial Tribes (because dinosaur people are awesome) who live in the land of the Kaiju.  Great megafauna and dinosaurs roam this land and often go on rampages that go far beyond their borders.  This may have been influenced by a Godzilla marathon. :p

Come to think of it, saurials already kinda have a caste system, so another point for using them in this area (that and their official standing in the area).

edit: including link to saurial stats

The Island Kingdoms: This area usually covers everything from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, to Borneo, so hard to give it's own feel.  I do want a Singapore type city that acts as a place of exiles from other areas.  Throw in islands of aarakocra, dwarves, ghosts, giants, gnomes, goliaths, headhunters, minotaurs, pirates, underwater kingdoms, vampires, and a couple of dragons that have been exiled and seek revenge and it becomes the sandbox the gm can play in hard.  Need an artifact that has been missing from generations, a teacher of forbidden magic, or a monster that is very rare whose parts can cure an otherwise incurable disease?  start at the island kingdoms.

I'm going to triple it's size and make it as an archipelago of Kar-tur.  A lot of these places world is a small location of a single tribe in a lagoon and sealed off from their neighbors.

I'd probably put the Singapore type city on an island closest to the Kara-tur mainland and put it in conflict with everybody, especially T'u Lung due to proximity.  Perhaps a redoing of Bwa with this flavor.

No comments:

Post a Comment