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    Default [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Setting

    The Scroungers Campaign Setting

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    Introduction

    Welcome to the Scroungers Campaign Setting, a world of ships and shores, paucity and poverty, crowding and conflict. This world was designed especially for the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game to provide players with new options for their campaigns. The world seamlessly incorporates the bewildering variety of content available for the d20 fantasy rules set and can support almost any style of game imaginable.

    The Scroungers setting centers on the continent of Stha Lui, the world’s only remaining refuge for terrestrial life following a catastrophic flood known as the Torrent. Originally a high plateau surrounded by tall mountains, Stha Lui is the last large area of dry land left on the world. The rest of the planet is covered in a single large ocean dotted with islands. Most (if not all) of these islands are uncharted and provide opportunities for Dungeon Masters to insert almost any type of game content into the setting. Some island chains are described in this book (though their general locations in relation to Stha Lui are not) and DM’s are encouraged to create as many new islands or archipelagos as needed for their campaigns.


    The Tone of the World

    This setting establishes a tone unique among D&D campaign settings; one that combines high fantasy with scarcity and desperation while maintaining as many of the fantastic and magical elements associated with fantasy roleplaying as possible. Other settings attempt to establish this feeling of scarcity by severely limiting the class and race options available to the players or simply recommending a reduction in access to magic. The Scroungers setting, on the other hand, limits the players’ monetary resources and depicts an economic system that addresses issues of social breakdown and overpopulation.

    A campaign set in the Scroungers setting should feel desperate and exciting as the characters try to stretch their resources to their limits, make due with sub-standard or non-ideal equipment, and embark on desperate quests for resources. Simple commodities like wood, ore, and foodstuffs become precious sources of wealth in this climate, grounding the game in the sorts of economic transactions that players are familiar with from history, current events, and every-day life.

    Another major theme of the Scroungers setting is racial and cultural interaction. A wide variety of racial and cultural groups exist in an extremely limited area where a majority of the population is, on some level, immigrant-based. This forced mingling plays out across the landscape of the setting in unique solutions to social, political, and economic problems as well as violent conflict, discrimination, and simmering hatred.

    Additionally, all this takes place against the backdrop of a complete social breakdown. Approximately 600 years before the start of the campaign, a disastrous flood known as the Torrent inundated the world, submerging all but the highest mountain peaks. The area that became the continent of Stha Lui (the central land mass of the campaign setting) was once a high plateau surrounded on three sides by towering mountain ranges. It is now the only known land mass of any great size.

    Over time, the few survivors of each race all found their way to Stha Lui and attempted to establish themselves on its shores. This has resulted not only in the melting pot effect mentioned earlier but also in the complete destruction of most social networks and the need to establish a new society. The society of Stha Lui is in its infancy and remains fractured and chaotic.

    Finally, the setting is marked by a strong sense of nostalgia and longing for home. Every cultural and racial group is in some way dislocated, whether it is as a result of the Torrent’s destruction of their original homeland or because they were pushed from their lands by the arrival of refugee groups (commonly called “newcomers”). Almost everyone longs for home while stories and songs of long lost lands fill many a head.


    Ten Things to Know About Scroungers

    1. Everything is Scarce: From food to wood to metal to magic items, almost everything in the Scroungers setting is scarce. Money is tight, resources are slim, and there are a lot of people competing for the same things. This means that adventurers will be less powerful at any given level but also means that acquiring and selling things like timber or apple trees is a legitimate means of accumulating wealth.
    2. The Torrent: Approximately 600 years before the start of the campaign, a catastrophic flood submerged most of the world’s land masses, leaving Stha Lui as the only known continent of any size still above water. A number of uncharted island chains also dot the surface of the world’s ocean.
    3. Scroungers: As Stha Lui’s resources are rapidly being depleted, a new group of entrepreneurs has sprung up to seek supplementary resources at sea. These individuals, known collectively as “scroungers,” sail in search of wealth on islands or underwater. At best they’re innovative businessmen and honorable traders. At worst they’re little more than pirates. At all times they compete with each other for information, customers, and commodities to sell.
    4. Nostalgia: Almost every group in the setting is displaced in some way, either by the Torrent or by the arrival of new groups to Stha Lui. A sense of nostalgia and longing for semi-mythical lost homelands pervades the setting.
    5. Landborn Versus Newcomers: The original inhabitants of Stha Lui, known as the landborn, are bitter about the arrival of the newcomers. Similarly, the newcomers see the landborn as hostile and threatening to their survival. While there are always exceptions to this rule, in general, landborn and newcomers are in conflict.
    6. Racial and Cultural Interaction: Stha Lui is small and full of people from diverse backgrounds, all trying to eke out an existence and build a community. Wherever you go, there is cultural mixing. Languages have shifted, traditions are being shared, and cultural lines are blurring. Simultaneously, there are people who oppose these trends.
    7. Linguistic Diversity: The cultural and racial groups making up the population of Stha Lui speak a number of distinct languages. A common trade language has developed but is sharply limited in utility. As such, there is no equivalent to the “Common” spoken in other D&D settings.
    8. Regional Focus: Stha Lui is divided up into a number of different regions, each with its own cultural fabric, economic resources, and racial makeup. The setting offers a number of new options based on a character’s home region. Regional identities are very important in the politics of Stha Lui.
    9. Go-Stone: While magic and psionics are still prevalent on Stha Lui, a new technology is being developed based around energy-emitting stones known as “go-stones.” No one knows how these stones came into existence but they can be used to power ships, construct fantastic machines, or even enhance weapons and armor. But be careful! They can be dangerous if mishandled.
    10. Island Hopping: The uncharted nature of the ocean surrounding Stha Lui allows the DM to insert any sort of game content he or she desires. Want to run a session of encounters with dinosaurs? Have the players go to an undiscovered island populated by dinosaurs!


    Games in the Scroungers Campaign Setting

    The Scroungers setting was created with two types of campaigns in mind and can easily be used as the setting for either type of campaign. The two types of campaigns assumed in the creation of the setting are: traditional ongoing D&D campaigns and episodic campaigns.

    The traditional campaign is what most frequently comes to mind when people think of games like D&D. This campaign usually has a strong overarching plotline and the events of each session follow each other in a more-or-less continuous timeline. Downtime and breaks in continuity can be a part of this sort of campaign but tend to be short in duration and occur only when the plot allows for a break. A traditional campaign has the feel of a novel or movie, with all of the action unfolding before the eyes of the players.

    The Scroungers setting was also designed with a more episodic campaign style in mind. In contrast to a traditional campaign, an episodic campaign features frequent breaks in continuity and significant events that occur in between sessions. In many cases, episodic campaigns set in the Scroungers setting take place at sea with the PC’s as members of a scrounger crew. Given the large number of possible uncharted islands, each session can easily focus on the PC’s experiences at a different location, with travel time, re-supplying and other events taking place “off camera.” Similarly, Stha Lui’s relatively large number of urban centers, undeveloped hinterlands, and mountainous borders can make an episodic land-based campaign a reality. An episodic campaign has the feel of a television series, where each session is not necessarily immediately following the previous session.

    It should be noted that these two styles of campaign are not mutually exclusive. It is entirely possible to insert an overarching plot into an episodic campaign and to link a number of sessions together temporally while maintaining an episodic feel. Similarly, a DM can easily insert an episodic section into a larger traditional campaign.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2011-11-18 at 03:45 PM.
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    Default [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Setting

    Races

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    Stha Lui and the surrounding islands are populated by the remnants of much larger societies destroyed in the catastrophic Torrent. The continent is a melting pot of different races and cultures, each striving to carve out its own niche. Similarly, the broader world is full of small islands and isolated populations, where all types of races can be found.

    The races detailed below are those with a significant presence on Stha Lui or in the immediate surrounding waters. As campaigns spread beyond the continent, it is also possible for any race to have a presence in the Scroungers setting.

    Most of the races detailed below are based on the races already published in the Player’s Handbook or the Monster Manual, though some have been altered to fit the setting and to expand options available to the players. Unless indicated here, already-existing races use the descriptions from the original source book.

    Additionally, Stha Lui is home to two new races. These new races are:
    Sea Dwarves, a race of hardy seafarers who thrive in the costal and insular environments so common to the Scroungers campaign setting.
    Vanar, a race of monkey-like humanoids who live on a large archipelago off the coast of Stha Lui.

    Racial Overview

    {table=head]Race|Ability Adjustments|Alignment Tendencies|Favored Class
    Aasimar|+2 Con, -2Dex|Tend slightly good|Cleric
    Deep Dwarves|+2 Con, -2 Cha|Tend slightly lawful|Fighter
    Elves|+2 Dex, -2 Con|Tend lawful|Wizard
    Halflings|+2 Dex, -2 Str|No dominant tendencies|Rogue
    Humans|None|No dominant tendencies|Any
    Sea Dwarves|+2 Con, -2 Cha|Tend chaotic|Ranger
    Tieflings|+2 Dex, -2 Str|Tend slightly evil|Bard
    Vanar|+2 Dex, +2 Str, -2 Wis|Tend strongly chaotic, tend slightly good|Barbarian
    Altered (Template)|-2 Wisdom, varies|As base race|As base race[/table]

    Vital Statistics

    {table=head]Race|Middle Age|Old|Venerable|Maximum Age
    Aasimar|45 years|60 years|80 years|+2d20 years
    Deep Dwarves|60 years|100 years|145 years|+3d20
    Elves|53 years|75 years|120 years|+3d20 years
    Halflings|35 years|53 years|70 years|+2d20 years
    Humans|35 years|53 years|70 years|+2d20 years
    Sea Dwarves|60 years|100 years|145 years|+3d20
    Tieflings|45 years|60 years|80 years|+2d20 years
    Vanar|25 years|60 years|70 years|+2d20 years[/table]

    Aasimar

    The product of good extraplanar influence in the world, an aasimar may have a celestial ancestor from generations past or may have been influenced by a good outsider while in the womb. Either way, they are usually able to pose as humans or elves and blend in with society despite a few visual quirks that mark their heritage.

    Personality
    In general, aasimar tend to have forceful, assertive personalities. They are often extremely confident and somewhat straight-forward. However, these are only general trends and the personalities of individual assimar are as varied as members of any other race.

    Physical Description
    Most aasimar are almost indistinguishable from normal humans or elves. Their bodies tend to be slightly stockier and more muscular than average, but not beyond the bounds of what is considered normal. They may also exhibit other visual quirks, ranging from intensely gold or silver hair to noticeably pointed ears to incredibly piercing and vibrant eyes. A very few aasimar have even more pronounced differences in appearance, and may have strangely-colored skin or the occasional feather sprouting from their arms or shoulders.

    Relations
    Aasimar are, by and large, able to blend into normal society. Even where they stand out, aasimar enjoy an overall good reputation because of their association with benevolent extraplanar forces. However, each aasimar is an individual and everyone can point to examples of unpleasant or evil aasimar.

    Alignment
    While it is true that a slightly higher percentage of aasimar display good tendencies, there are also a number of evil-aligned aasimar. In many cases, an aasimar’s good ancestry is extremely remote and doesn’t substantially affect his or her alignment either way.

    Aasimar Lands
    Members of a minority community in Stha Lui, aasimar are most often found living among members of other races. They rarely control any territory of their own (with the exception of possibly owning land in the Hinterlands) and there is no known aasimar homeland.

    Aasimar Racial Traits

    Deep Dwarves
    Along with a few human groups concentrated on the flatlands west of the Mountains, dwarves are the original inhabitants of Stha Lui. After the Torrent, most of the dwarves retreated into their mountain strongholds and their outposts on the eastern shore. By far the densest dwarven population can be found in the subterranean city of Tehtgah. While most dwarves remain in the mountains and on the eastern shore, some dwarves are willing to reside in the western foothills of the Mountains and liaise with the newcomers.

    Personality
    In general, deep dwarves are noticeably dour, bitter and hidebound. They remember the days when they dominated large portions of Stha Lui and resent the newcomers even more than the Shokhanids do, rarely venturing out of their halls. They view themselves as the rightful owners of Stha Lui. They are also extremely mechanical and delight in all sorts of machinery. Many of the advances in go-stone technology are the result of deep dwarven craftsmanship.

    Physical Description
    Deep dwarves are short and stocky with broad chests and long, muscular arms. Their hair tends to be various shades of dark brown or black and they tend to let their hair and (on the men) beards grow long. Their clothing tends to be similarly drab and the utilize browns, grays, purples and other deep colors most frequently.

    Relations
    Deep dwarves are prickly and easily offended. They have few friends among the other races of Stha Lui. They maintain the close relationship with the Shokhanids that existed prior to the Torrent and occasionally deal with the sea dwarves, though they find their more changeable cousins somewhat frustrating. They have extremely poor relations with the other races, treating them with frosty contempt at best and with outright hatred and violence at the worst. There are small factions (known as “Quislings”) within deep dwarf society that have embraced the newcomers and moved out from the halls under the Mountains but these dwarves are outnumbered and ostracized by their more resentful brethren.

    Alignment
    Deep dwarves are overwhelmingly lawful, but (despite their unpleasantness and disregard for the newcomers) they do not have any tendencies to either good or evil.

    Deep Dwarf Lands
    The deep dwarves live in subterranean cities buried deep under the Mountains and have spread throughout the range, sharing only the foothills of their territory with the Shokhanids. Their principal city is Tehtgah, located on the far southern end of the Mountains near the coast. They used to dominate the smaller Forest Hills and large portions of the plains as well but have retreated into the Mountains since the Torrent.

    Deep Dwarf Racial Traits
    Deep dwarves are statistically identical to standard dwarves, as described in the Player’s Handbook. Note that deep dwarves in the Scroungers setting are not the same as the deep dwarf subrace from the Monster Manual.

    Elves

    Originating mostly from a homeland far from Stha Lui, elves were among the last survivors of the Torrent to arrive. Stha Lui’s elven population is centered in the region they call Tanu ya Nzadi, in the marsh and river land around the city of Mbazana. There are also a number of elven landowners in the Hinterlands as well.

    Personality
    Stha Lui’s elves are of similar cultural extraction and cling very strongly to their traditions. They also can be aggressive, direct and xenophobic. While Stha Lui’s elves are not as long-lived as elves in other settings, they do have longer lifespans and remember with somewhat greater clarity their pre-Torrent societies. Elves tend to have intense personalities and pursue almost everything, from business to music to combat, with this concentration and vigor.

    Physical Description
    Slightly shorter and more slender than the average human, Stha Lui's elves are adroit and quick. Their eyes are wide and round with large pupils and their ears are elongated and pointy. An elf's nose is smaller than the average human's and tends to mirror the pointiness of his or her ears. Their hair tends to be dark and their skin pale, though they often dye both their skin and hair various shades of green and brown. These tones also predominate in their clothing.

    Relations
    Elves’ xenophobic nature makes their relations with other races somewhat strained. In Home and other areas of substantial racial mingling, elves tend to keep to themselves and look at their relations with other races as zero-sum. Gangs of elves occasionally cause inter-racial violence, especially in retaliation against slights, real or perceived. While they are not expansionist in general, bands of elven raiders will strike into the Hinterlands or areas controlled by the Gensche and Shokhanids, especially where elven minority communities can act as allies. Tanu ya Nzadi is the only region of continental Stha Lui without substantial minority communities.

    Alignment
    Organized and grounded in tradition, elves tend to be lawful. Their aggressive nature often leads other races to view them as evil, though this is not necessarily an accurate picture of elven morality.

    Elven Lands
    Elves control the territory around Mbazana (which they call “Tanu ya Nzadi”) as well as portions of the Hinterlands. Elves maintain a tribal governing structure similar to that of pre-Torrent elven societies, with each village consisting of several extended families that owe allegiance to a regional chief, to whom most of the families are distantly related. The local chieftains are in turn loyal (at least nominally) to a High Chief who governs from Mbazana, though villages and even regional chieftains have a high level of autonomy. Some communities, especially border communities, occasionally supplement their income by raiding nearby towns.

    Elven Racial Traits
    Elves in the Scroungers setting are statistically identical to elves as described in the Player’s Handbook.

    Halflings
    Stha Lui’s halflings live in two main enclaves, concentrated around the port city of Śetaig and in small nomadic camps scattered around the Fádech Desert in the east. Some halflings lived in Stha Lui before the Torrent but most arrived soon thereafter.

    Personality
    Halflings are active and curious. These traits manifest in different ways in different individuals. Some halflings are daring tricksters, others are restless wanderers and still others are noted and famous sages. No two halflings are the same and they take pride in their individuality. At the same time, however, they know the value of community and can be devoted servants and defenders when their communities are threatened.

    Physical Description
    Halflings are small and thin, averaging about three-and-a-half to four feet in height with slender builds (though they tend to put on weight as they age). Their skin is naturally fair but tans rather than burning in the sun. The semi-nomadic lifestyle to which many are accustomed tends to keep them outdoors, leading to tanned faces and sun-lightened hair in varying shades of brown. Their clothing is usually simple; leather pants reinforced in the knees and crotch and loose, woven shirts. They love hats, taking pride in particularly interesting or well-crafted examples of the haberdasher's art.

    Relations
    How halflings interact with others varies widely. Wandering halflings strive to either avoid contact with others or to make their presence a benefit. More sedentary halflings are fiercely protective of their homelands and territories but are rarely expansionistic. In those cases where the influence of halfling communities does expand, it is more frequently through peaceful integration than through violent conquest.

    Alignment
    Decidedly individualistic, halflings as a group show no dominant moral or ethical predilections. Individual halflings can be found all over the alignment spectrum.

    Halfling Lands
    The port city of Śetaig and the surrounding area is home to the greatest concentrations of halflings. Halflings are also the dominant sentient race of the Fádech Desert, where they live in semi-nomadic communities that migrate between a number of established, semi-permanent settlements. Given their restless and curious personalities, halflings tend to wander and can be found almost anywhere in Stha Lui.

    Halfling Racial Traits
    Halflings in the Scroungers setting are statistically identical to halflings as described in the Player’s Handbook.

    Humans
    The race with the largest population on Stha Lui, humans have spread throughout the continent and come from a variety of homelands. They arrived in small groups over a long period of time, corresponding to the location of their original homeland. Humans dominate the cities of Dekhi, Shokhan, and Genzbald. The human population of Shokhan mostly consists of original residents of Stha Lui, while humans elsewhere come from a wide variety of origins.

    The Aadipurans

    The human group that dominates Aadipura around the city of Dekhi was among the first groups to arrive in Stha Lui after the Torrent. They established the city of Home and dominated much of the coast, but were pushed inland in many places with the arrival of the Gensche and the halflings. Still, they retained a firm control over the strategic towns of Dekhi and Aakhri and continue to dominate the river traffic to the large coastal cities of Home and Śetaig.

    The Aadipurans originally dwelt in the lowlands near the homeland of the vanar and share many cultural traits with these monkey-like humanoids. They worship a wide variety of gods, each more fantastic and exotic than the last. Their society is highly structured and based around family ties. They delight in myths and fanciful stories of the gods and heroes, and music, dance, poem, and tale are important parts of their worship.

    Aadipurans tend to be shorter than other humans. Their skin ranges from tan to dark brown (depending on their occupation), their eyes are usually various shades of brown and grey, and their hair is dark. Aadipuran men commonly grow mustaches in various styles. Women keep their hair long, usually in ponytails. The wealthier a woman is, the more complicated the braid. Aadipuran clothing for men and women uses a linen-like fabric woven from river reeds. They dye the cloth fantastic colors and wrap unsewn sheets of cloth into shirts, pants, and other garments using complicated wrapping techniques.

    The Gensche

    The human group that dominates the area surrounding the city of Genzbald and Stha Lui’s great western forest arrived after the Aadipurans, pushing them back from their coastal holdings to take firm control of the forests and highlands. Originally hailing from a similarly lush, temperate homeland, the Gensche are at home in the forest and derive much of their livelihood from the woods in which they live. Their groves are the primary source of timber for the newcomers, as the large forests to the east of the Mountains remain (with a few exceptions) firmly in the hands of the landborn.

    Outside of the town of Genzbald, the Gensche live in a myriad of small, family-controlled fiefs, kingdoms, and tribal domains scattered throughout the larger domain they call “Genzland.” While all nominally under the control of a ruler Genzbald, these minor states have a large degree of independence and frequently come into conflict with their neighbors.

    Gensche are tall and strong, a product of genetics and the hard work of harvesting timber. Their skin is fair and tends to burn rather than tan in the sun. Their eyes and hair also tend toward lighter shades. Gensche men usually either grow a long beard or remain clean-shaven. Mustaches and short beards are not commonly seen. They use wool and animal hide in their clothing, preferring earth tones and shades of green to the brighter colors favored by Aadipurans.

    The Shokhanids

    The human groups that originally lived on the flatlands west of the Mountains had established close relationships with the deep dwarves before the Torrent and share many cultural traits with the deep dwarves. As new groups arrived and began to claim territory, the Shokhanids were pushed farther and farther east, eventually crossing the Mountains and settling in the eastern foothills and narrow coastal plains. Their ties to the deep dwarves deepened as the two groups worked together to defend against the threat they perceived from the newcomers.

    While they are ruled by a secular king known as the “Mirza-ye Qajan”, the Shokhanids’s religious establishment has tremendous power in their society. While Shokhanid political leadership is ostensibly based on descent (though rules for inheritance, especially at the royal level, are ambiguous at best), the religious establishment often interferes in the ubiquitous and destructive succession squabbles that follow the death of the previous ruler. They also frequently serve as advisers or even de-facto rulers. The extent to which the religious establishment has actual control of the country varies with the strength of the secular ruler, but they are always a force to be reckoned with.

    The Shokhanids who live on the flats are extensively involved in agriculture and timber harvesting, providing most of the food that sustains the deep dwarves and humans living at higher elevations. Those Shokhanids who live in the foothills are primarily semi-nomadic pastoralists, raising sheep, goats and horses for milk, meat and war.

    Shokhanids are also fair of skin, though darker than the Gensche or halflings. Their hair is typically dark brown similar to most Aadipurans, but occasionally a Shokhanid will be born with blond hair and blue eyes, an event which is seen as a good omen. Shokhanid men typically have difficulty growing facial hair but close-cropped beards are popular. Like the Gensche, they use animal products as well as plant-based fibers in their clothing, preferring lambs wool and softened leather to the courser Gensche fabrics. They tend to wear long tunics under many-pocketed vests and wrap thick blankets around their shoulders to ward of the cold. Turbans and wool hats are popular, especially in the winter.

    Human Racial Traits
    Humans in the Scroungers setting are statistically identical to humans as described in the Player’s Handbook.

    Sea Dwarves

    Of all the dwarves in Stha Lui, only the sea dwarves arrived after the Torrent. Former residents of a small archipelago, sea dwarves are ideally suited to life on the waves.

    Personality
    Sea dwarves are often accused of being preoccupied with the past, and they do indeed preserve a bewildering variety of legends of their fabled homelands. Many of them speak of floating islands and mountains that scrape the sky, leaving many sea dwarves with dreams of rediscovering their home islands. Sea dwarves can be as changeable as the oceans they ply, rough and salty one moment, sentimental and nostalgic the next.

    Physical Description
    Sea dwarves’ skin is ruddy and usually sun burnt. Their hair and (on the men) beards are various shades of blue-green. They tend to be slightly taller and thinner than most other dwarves but their chests have the same barrel shape and their arms and legs are strong. Their eyes are noticeably larger than other races and have an extra set of clear eyelids to protect them from sea spray. Their ability to blink twice in quick succession is unnerving if you’re not accustomed to it.

    Relations
    Despite their shared ancestry, sea dwarves don’t necessarily have a close attachment to their land-based cousins. In general, their authority figures are scrupulous about remaining neutral in political squabbles. They frequently see opportunities for profit in providing transportation services to warring parties.

    Alignment
    Sea dwarves have changeable temperaments and are familiar with a life at sea. They tend to be chaotic.

    Sea Dwarf Lands
    Sea dwarves live cities carved into sea cliffs and are frequent members of ocean crews. While they can be found throughout Stha Lui’s coastal areas, their populations are most concentrated on the Qileka archipelago just southeast of Tehtgah and the southern end of the Mountains.

    Sea Dwarf Racial Traits

    Tieflings

    The product of evil extraplanar influence in the world, tieflings may have a fiendish ancestor from generations past or may have been influenced by an evil outsider while in the womb. Either way, they are usually able to pose as humans or elves and blend in with society despite a few visual quirks that mark their heritage.

    Personality
    People often assert that tieflings tend to have violent, aggressive, or greedy personalities. Some people think that they’re just naturally unpleasant. However, whether or not this is true depends greatly on the individual tiefling. In many (if not most) cases, the evil influence in a tiefling’s background is so remote that its effect on personality is minor. However, it is true that a greater percentage of tieflings struggle with slight tendencies toward greed, secrecy or aggression.

    Physical Description
    It is often impossible to distinguish tieflings from members of other races, though most tieflings tend to be noticeably slender in their build. In general, the evil influence in their background is so diluted that they retain only minor visual quirks. Their sweat might take on a slightly reddish tint, their irises might be over large and strangely-colored or their teeth and fingernails might be slightly more pointed than normal. However, there is always the odd tiefling who deviates from this norm and has vestigial horns, clawed fingers or unsettling black-on-black eyes.

    Relations
    In most cases, a person isn’t aware they’re interacting with a tiefling. Most tieflings actively work to blend in. However, even the most obvious tieflings face only limited discrimination. Tieflings have been around long enough that most societies are accustomed to their presence. Almost everyone can point to examples of both good and evil tieflings. However, there is some lingering, usually subtle but nonetheless real, discrimination. This is even more overt in societies less familiar with tieflings, especially among the vanar and the halflings of the Fádech Desert.

    Alignment
    While it is true that a slightly higher percentage of tieflings display evil tendencies, there are also a number of good-aligned tieflings. In many cases, a tiefling’s evil ancestry is extremely remote and does not substantially affect his or her alignment either way. In some cases, tieflings can even overcompensate for any perceived evil tendencies and attempt to lead completely blameless lives.

    Tiefling Lands
    Members of a minority community in Stha Lui, tieflings are most often found living among members of other races. They rarely control any territory of their own (with the exception of possibly owning land in the Hinterlands) and there is no known tiefling homeland.

    Tiefling Racial Traits

    Vanar

    Vanar are a race of monkey-like humanoids that populate a chain of hilly islands overgrown with lush vegetation. They are formidable warriors who literally tear trees out of the ground and wield them as oversized clubs.

    Personality
    Vanar are characterized by what is called their "monkey nature." While they are cunning and shrewd, they have somewhat limited attention spans and they tend to be rash. They are quick to both anger and laughter and tend to be exceedingly curious. They are often quite generous and loyal to their friends.

    Physical Description
    The vanar are quite similar to humans in build and are indistinguishable from humans in many respects. However, they possess long, tufted, somewhat prehensile tails of which they are very proud. Their faces have strong monkey-like characteristics. They don't have hair in the conventional sense; their heads are covered with fine fur that stretches down onto their shoulders and upper backs before dwindling into a thin line that runs down their spinal cord and melds with the fur on their tail. This fur tends to be light brown, grey, cream-colored, or yellow.

    Relations
    The vanar largely maintain cordial relations with their neighbors but tend to be somewhat isolationist. Their generosity and curiosity tend to make other races view them as endearing.

    Alignment
    The vanar are overwhelmingly chaotic and tend more toward good than evil. Rare vanar are neutral or even lawful but these individuals are few and far between.

    Vanar Lands
    Vanar populations are concentrated on the archipelago to the southwest of Stha Lui, an island chain the vanar call Śathadva. Vanar remain largely isolationist, though they do have some commerce with the Aadipurans, who originated in the (now-submerged) lowlands around the vanar homeland with whom they share certain cultural characteristics and a history of contact.

    Vanar Racial Traits

    Altered

    To be called “altered” in Stha Lui is a deadly insult. Those people who actually are Altered frequently try to hide this fact and avoid the persecution that so often accompanies their nature. The Altered have been affected, most frequently while still in the womb, with the power of go-stones. Their bodies and minds are different from other members of their race.

    Personality
    Altered are often furtive and suspicious, a trait developed from living on the edges of society and desperately trying to keep knowledge of their condition from others. They are usually difficult to befriend but can be intensely loyal, another defense mechanism developed by those with few friends. Altered also tend toward the macabre, cynical and fatalistic sides of their personality and their humor tends to be dark.

    Physical Description
    While the chaotic go-stone energy works differently in each individual Altered, they do share some common characteristics. Most notably, their complexion tends to be pale and their eyes tend to be fantastic colors. While they share characteristics with other members of their original race, Altered tend to have these features somewhat distorted. An Altered elf, for example, will usually have long ears but these ears may be scalloped instead of pointed or may jut out at strange angles.

    The only universal feature shared by all Altered is a faint discoloration of the skin around the eyes, giving them a raccoon-like appearance if you look closely. While often an extremely faint grey color, this discoloration will flare up and change colors when an Altered is experiencing strong emotions.

    Relations
    Altered are frequently feared and misunderstood. While it’s clear that Altered are a part of the cultural and political landscape, official discrimination and social prejudice against them are still common. Most try to downplay their differences and blend into society. Others, however, actively campaign for better treatment or even Altered rule over the rest of society.

    Creating an Altered

    New Rule: Regional Favored Class

    In many cases, a character’s regional identity is as important as her racial identity in terms of shaping her world-view, describing her social and cultural background and determining the nature of her childhood and early adulthood. In the Scroungers setting, this is represented in part by the use of regional favored classes.

    At character creation, a player can choose to accept her character’s racial favored class (detailed under the description of each race) or her character’s regional favored class. Once a player makes this choice, it can only be changed by selecting a feat, gaining a class ability or some other already-established method of changing a favored class or gaining a new favored class.

    The following table outlines the regional favored classes for the Scroungers campaign setting.

    {table=head]Region|Favored Class
    Genzland|Druid
    Tanu ya Nzadi|Hexblade
    Home Territory|Bard
    Śetaig|Wizard
    Qileka|Rogue
    Aadipura|Psychic Warrior
    The Mountains|Cleric
    The Hinterlands|Ranger
    The Śathadva Islands|Psychic Warrior
    The Fádech Desert|Barbarian
    Shokhestan|Psion[/table]

    Classes

    In keeping with the regionalized and diverse nature of the Scroungers campaign setting, the roles of various classes in the campaign setting are outlined here. Additionally, a number of classes have been modified to better fit the setting’s tone and power level. These modifications can be found below.

    In general, all classes can be found in the Scroungers campaign setting, though not all have a defined role in the world. DM’s are encouraged to create organizations or defined roles for classes not listed here. The only exceptions to this rule are preparatory arcane caster classes, which have been eliminated from the setting.

    Core Base Classes

    Barbarian
    At least a few barbarians can be found in every group in the Scroungers setting. Barbarian is the favored class for the vanar of the Śathadva Islands and the majority of vanar warriors have at least one level in barbarian. Barbarians are also common amongst the halflings of the Fádech Desert and the sea dwarves of Qileka, where the barbarian’s extra nature-focused skills facilitate survival in harsh environments. Among the deep dwarves (and, to a lesser extent, the Shokhanids), most barbarians choose to utilize the Whirling Frenzy variant and are a group of fanatical anti-newcomer fighters. The barbarian’s relatively unschooled approach to fighting also lends itself well to the inhabitants of the rural Hinterlands.

    Bard
    Almost every race and cultural group in Stha Lui produces at least some bards. Bards are especially common among the halflings of Śetaig, the humans of Aadipura, and the residents of the Home Territory. A number of scroungers and ship captains are bards whose wanderlust leads them to ply the sea.

    Cleric
    While the majority of religious officials are not members of the cleric class, every race and cultural group in Stha Lui produces at least some clerics. Clerics are often highly-placed members of the religious establishment but there are also clerics who are completely unattached to organized religion and draw their spellcasting skills from shear devotion to their deity or cause. Clerics are far more common in the settled coastal areas than in rural or sparsely-populated regions.

    Game Rule Information

    Druid
    While not as widespread as clerics, druids can be found in a number of regions of the Scroungers setting. A number of the religious officials among the vanar and the Aadipurans are druids. Additionally, a number of druidic circles can be found deep within the forests of Genzland and Shokhan. Many Gensche druids chose to focus on speed and hone their hunting abilities instead of learning to shapeshift, as described here. Druids are surprisingly frequent members in scrounging crews, where their weather manipulation abilities are in high demand and they have the opportunity to visit unexplored wilderness or grow closer to the sea.

    Game Rule Information

    Fighter
    While fighters can be found throughout Stha Lui, they tend to come from the more heavily-populated, urban areas of the western coastline. The Home Territory, Genzbald (and a number of other Gensche fiefs), Lastport, and Śetaig all have city guard and militia units composed largely of fighters. Fighters are also common in Tehtgah and the Mountains, where the deep dwarves have a strong martial tradition.

    In general, fighters in Stha Lui train by attaching themselves to an acknowledged master, who takes on students in exchange for personal service and upkeep rather than a set fee. The students serve the master and the master teaches. While these “schools” are often relatively close to urban centers, the actual instruction takes place in the rural areas around the city, away from people and other distractions. While there are of course freelance mercenary groups, individual adventurers, and more organized martial groups, most fighting styles are (or were at one time) based on one of these informal schools. Some fighters choose to become scroungers, but fewer than one would expect. A fighter’s relatively narrow focus doesn’t lend itself to a life at sea.

    Game Rule Information

    Paladin
    Similar to fighters, paladins in the Scroungers setting tend to be found in urban areas, usually attached to specific churches or martial orders with a religious bent. The difficulty of life on Stha Lui and the cultural and racial mingling that are so prevalent have resulted in increasingly ambiguous moral views in society at large, and paladins are a far smaller group than they were before the Torrent. That said, each race and each region has at least some paladins, usually devoted to the traditional gods or moral philosophies remembered from before the Torrent. Paladins are seldom scroungers, as their skill set is ill-suited to a life at sea and they can have difficulty dealing with the morally-challenging situations scroungers encounter so frequently.

    Ranger
    Rangers abound in Stha Lui, especially the more rural regions away from the west coast. Rangers are common in the Hinterlands, Genzland, and Shokhan. Additionally, a fairly large portion of the continent’s sailors and scroungers are rangers, where the class’ martial prowess and nature-based skill set combine to make it ideal for a life at sea.

    Game Rule Information

    Rogue
    With the ability to excel in almost any situation, rogues are perfectly suited to life in Stha Lui’s bustling cities, especially the chaotic ports on the west coast of the continent. They are also frequently at home at sea, and many of the scroungers, merchants, and pirates that ply the waters around Stha Lui have levels in the rogue class. Finally, members of the more rural communities sometimes take levels in the wilderness rogue variant of this class.

    Wizard
    Wizards are the primary source of arcane power in the Scroungers campaign setting. While bards derive their magical powers from their devotion to art and music, wizards treat magic as a craft or a science. They are able to use powerful magic and can even experiment with the basic characteristics of their spells, adapting them to the needs of the moment. Some wizards are naturally talented. Others gain power by memorizing arcane incantations and ancient tomes. Yet all of them require intense study and dedication to advance their skills.

    Game Rule Information

    Psionic Base Classes
    The abilities represented by the psionic classes developed relatively recently in the history of the Scroungers world. They are the result of interactions between individuals with powerful mental skills and go-stones. Whether go-stone energy unleashes latent psionic powers in an individual or simply a required focus or conduit is unclear, but the two are undoubtedly intertwined.

    In order to manifest any psionic powers, a psionic character must possess a shard of go-stone that acts as a focus for her manifesting abilities. Indeed, it is contact with this shard that ignites a psionic character’s abilities. In most cases this shard is minute or depleted, having a value of 100 gp (though psionic characters are assumed to have found this shard, and need not purchase their shard). Certain manifesters are able to use more powerful go-stone shards to enhance their abilities, but this is by no means required.

    In most cases, manifesters set their go-stone shard in a piece of significant jewelry or into a staff, weapon, or other item. This, however, is not necessary, and some manifesters simply hold the stone in their hand.

    Classes that do not manifest powers but still draw their class abilities from a psionic source (for example, the soulknife base class) still need to use a shard of go-stone as a focus for their abilities. Creatures with psi-like abilities or access to psionic feats need not possess a go-stone focus to use these abilities.

    Non-Core Classes

    Non-core rulebooks like the Complete series and the Player’s Handbook 2 introduce exciting new classes into the Dungeons & Dragons game. This section provides information on adapting these classes to Scroungers.

    Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, and Warmage
    Introduced in the Player’s Handbook 2, Heroes of Horror and Complete Arcane (respectively), these classes provide alternatives to standard full casting classes like wizard and sorcerer. Beguilers, dread necromancers and warmages are all able to spontaneously cast arcane spells. Their class spell lists are focused on one or two primary schools of magic, with very few (if any) spells outside of these schools. They automatically know all the spells on their list, giving them significant versatility within their area of focus but almost no utility casting outside of that area. Beguilers focus on enchantment and illusion spells, manipulating allies and enemies with aplomb. Dread necromancers focus on necromancy and some conjuration spells, creating or summoning undead servants and drawing life energy from their foes. Warmages focus on evocation and some conjuration spells, mowing down large numbers of enemies with direct damage.

    These classes can fill most roles a normal wizard would fill, though in a more focused capacity. They can be found throughout Stha Lui, though their comparatively narrow ability set can make it more difficult for them to cope with the diverse challenges life in the Scroungers world presents. Beguilers and warmages, while few in number, flourish in regions like Aadipura and the Home Territory, where urban intrigue and large militias, standing armies and city guard units provide environments in which they can operate. Dread necromancers, though also few in number, are more common away from the cities. They can practice their disturbing rituals in greater peace in rural areas like Shokhan, Tanu ya Nzadi and the Mountains.

    Game Rule Information

    Bonded Shaman
    Bonded shamans represent a strange and ill-understood connection between the world of men, the world of nature, and the spirit world. Instead of drawing on impersonal reserves of magical power, bonded shamans send extensions of their souls into the spirit world to bind powerful spirits to their wills, gaining strange and wondrous powers as a result.

    Most bonded shamans hale from regions of extreme environmental rigor, where the natural world is an integral part of everyday life and small, close-knit communities are crucial to survival. Unlike druids, who emphasize the primacy of nature, bonded shamans represent the connection between the individual, the community, and the world around them. They are often holy men or respected elders. The relationship they represent is not always harmonious, so they can also be recluses or necessary-but-unpleasant medicine men. They are most commonly found in Tanu ya Nzadi or the Fádech Desert, where tribal structures predominate.

    Game Rule Information

    Receiver of Memory
    The first receivers of memory appeared among the sea dwarves of Qileka, a race notable even in nostalgia-obsessed Stha Lui for an overwhelming preoccupation with ancient legends and dimly-remembered homelands. The early receivers were scholarly in a rough-and-ready way, eagerly seeking out memories that could be preserved for future generations. Their goal was both to reclaim as much information as possible about the sea dwarven past and to preserve current memories for future generations.

    The early receivers of memory traveled widely, so it wasn't surprising when new receivers began to crop in other communities. Needing only a brief instruction by another receiver, new receivers soon assumed prominent places in many communities where their unique role as town historian and semi-magical problem solver accorded them high honor. These days, receivers of memory are found in every race and region of Stha Lui.

    Game Rule Information
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    Character Creation

    The Scroungers setting provides a number of unique options for character creation, including new feats, alterations of certain skills and modifications of the character’s starting wealth. These options are detailed below and allow players to create characters that are unique to the Scrounger’s setting.

    Regional Feats
    In addition to the feat (or feats) normally selected at first level, a character in the Scroungers setting must select a regional feat from the list presented later in this book. These feats represent skills developed during the character’s upbringing in a specific physical or cultural region of Stha Lui and usually provide small, circumstantial, useful bonuses. For example, a character that grew up in the dense forests of Genzland might have developed a strong understanding for the forest and would be an ideal candidate for the Woodsman regional feat. Similarly, a sea dwarf from Qileka would have spent his childhood on board a ship and would qualify for the Sailor’s Blood or Born Marine feats.

    Languages
    Unlike many traditional fantasy worlds, there is no language in the Scroungers setting that is widespread enough to be considered “Common.” The various groups that populate the continent of Stha Lui speak different languages derived from their ancestral languages before the Torrent. To be sure, there has been mixing of languages, vocabulary exchanges have occurred and a widespread trade pidgin has developed, but a continent-wide language suitable for complex conversation does not exist on Stha Lui.

    Each character created in the Scroungers setting who originated on or near the continent of Stha Lui knows two automatic languages: the major language of their home region and Trade Pidgin. As usual, a character with a high Intelligence score at first level can learn one additional language for every point of her Intelligence bonus. The languages of Stha Lui are explained in greater detail under the Speak Language skill entry and in the racial and cultural descriptions presented in this book.

    If, for some reason, a character originated from a location other than Stha Lui and its surrounding islands, this character only knows one automatic language, usually a racial or regional language. She can learn Trade Pidgin as detailed in the Speak Language skill.

    Though Trade Pidgin developed more-or-less organically as dictated by the needs of commerce in Stha Lui’s multilingual society, in racially- and culturally-heterogenous areas like Home, it has become somewhat more comprehensive and nuanced, capable of expressing more complicated ideas. It still lacks the vocabulary necessary for technical discussions, academic debates, religious explorations, and similar subjects, but has come to be used for more than just trade.

    Given Stha Lui’s linguistic diversity and close confines, DMs might consider allowing players to select Trade Pidigin plus two additional regional languages at character creation. This is especially appropriate for characters whose places of origin is urban and racially- and culturally-diverse, like the Home Territory or coastal regions of Aadipura, Śetaig, and Qileka.

    Wealth by Level
    Because resources are so scarce in Stha Lui, PC’s at any given level will have access to fewer resources and less wealth than normal. The following table details approximately how much wealth a character should have at a given level.

    {table=head]Level|Wealth|Level|Wealth
    1st|~100 gp|11th|33,000 gp
    2nd|450 gp|12th|44,000 gp
    3rd|1350 gp|13th|55,000 gp
    4th|2700 gp|14th|75,000 gp
    5th|4500 gp|15th|100,000 gp
    6th|6500 gp|16th|130,000 gp
    7th|8500 gp|17th|170,000 gp
    8th|13,000 gp|18th|220,000 gp
    9th|18,000 gp|19th|290,000 gp
    10th|24,500 gp|20th|380,000 gp[/table]

    Even with this reduced level of character wealth, DM’s should be careful to refrain from giving PC’s too much currency. The following are a few guidelines to help DM’s determine what treasure to award and in what amounts.
    • The very existence of a wealth-by-level table lends itself to the even distribution of wealth over time. However, the values presented above are just benchmarks. DM’s should feel encouraged to distribute wealth unevenly over the course of the campaign, especially in a game where the PC’s take the role of scroungers. A lean period followed by a lucky break is very much within the realm of possibility for such an enterprise.
    • The majority of the wealth a PC possesses should be in the form of vital equipment (weapons, armor and other items that enhance his or her ability to function as a PC), while free cash should be relatively scarce and purchasing basic supplies should be a relatively major transaction. DM’s are encouraged to provide valuable magic and mundane items instead of hordes of coins. Some new types of items are introduced in this book as a way of replacing cash while still allowing PC’s to customize their equipment.
    • Only the wealthiest of merchants in the largest cities should have the cash on hand to purchase even the least expensive magic items from PC’s. Only the largest and most prosperous cities, especially those that cater to scrounger teams, should have the sort of “Ye Olde Magic Shoppe” economy that prevails in other settings.
    • On that note, encourage players to seek out and exploit barter economies where goods or services are traded directly for other goods and services instead of dealing in cash.
    • Powerful magic items should be rare and one-of-a-kind. PC’s who possess one of these items should either find it as an ancient relic of a lost civilization or have it custom crafted by a powerful (and thus well-known) caster.

    DM’s should feel free to exceed the above suggested wealth-by-level limits but only in item form or as major windfalls (representing “the job of a lifetime” or other major influx of cash). As stated above, cash should be rare and DM’s should feel comfortable with PC’s fluctuating between impoverished and wealthy.

    Skills

    Information about setting-specific modifications to the skill system is available here

    Feats

    A list of new feats for the Scroungers setting, including regional feats, can be found here
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2011-09-10 at 09:25 AM.
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    Magic

    From the teeming cities of Stha Lui’s western coast, to the hyper-productive terrace farms of Shokhestan, to the go-stone-powered ships that expand the reach of civilization over the waves, magic is a part of everyday life in the world of Scroungers. This chapter outlines the role magic plays in the Scroungers setting, outlines significant modifications to the nature of available magic and includes new spells, domains and options for spell-casting characters of all types.

    Magic in the World

    Only a few of the most learned sages can remember the nature of magic before the Torrent. However, since the catastrophic flood and the establishment of newcomer civilizations on Stha Lui, magic has become a critical part of daily life. With population pressures and resource demands that exceed mundane production limits, newcomers and landborn alike have devised magical means of stretching limited resources to the max. Some wealthy landowners provide high wages to spellcasters casting Plant Growth on their fields. Magical contractors in overcrowded cities like Home or Dekhi construct buildings from magically-created walls of iron or stone or magically strengthen them with spells like Ironwood. Spellcasters in Shokhestan and other hilly regions use spells like Move Earth to create the elaborate terrace structures necessary for efficient agriculture.

    Despite their best efforts, Stha Lui’s spellcasters remain challenged in creating magical solutions to resource and space shortages by the increased difficulty and complexity of spells that create or preserve resource supplies. In the post-Torrent world, spells like Create Food and Water and Purify Food and Drink are more difficult to cast than they once were. While ancient legends and works of lore contain tantalizing hints about simple, accessible spells to create food and drink, these spells remain too difficult for many casters.

    Similarly, the gods’ apparent departure following the Torrent has resulted in a sense of frustration and betrayal among the world’s priests and mages. This is particularly true of those mages who relied heavily on spells like Augury and Contact Other Plane to expand their knowledge of the world. For some unexplained reason, these and similar spells no longer function in the gods’ absence, blinding many of Stha Lui’s casters.

    Finally, while legends tell of powerful mages who could single-handedly cast earth-shattering enchantments, the casters of Stha Lui are limited to more mundane magic. They can, to be sure, summon significant powers to heal and build or harm and destroy. Their magic is the backbone of many scrounger crews, militia units and powerful merchant cartels but the miraculous spells at their ancestors’ fingertips remain impossible for even the most powerful mages. Despite years of research by accomplished scholars, no one knows why.

    Modifications to class spell lists, new spells, and other new rules concerning magic can be found here.

    Religion and Deities

    The mixing of cultures and races, the political needs of ruling groups, and the overarching cataclysm of the Torrent has resulted in a complicated religious situation on Stha Lui. This chapter hopes to outline the nature of religious practice in the Scroungers campaign setting.

    Cosmology

    The Scroungers universe is composed of three planes of existence: the Natural World, the Spirit World and the Space Between. Just as the Natural World is bound by its physical dimensions and mostly consistent throughout, the Spirit World is vast beyond imagining and infinitely varied. The Space Between, an infinite labyrinth of narrow, mostly-empty, airless passages, separates and connects the Natural World from the Spirit World.

    The Spirit World

    Parts of the Spirit World exist alongside the Natural World, mirroring (to some extent) natural terrain. However, its unexplored reaches extend far beyond the edges of the Natural World. Indeed, some sages theorize that the Spirit World never ends but rather stretches on into infinity and grows stranger and more fantastic the farther you travel. The difficulty of inter-planar travel and the deities’ absence ensure that concrete information about the Spirit World remains extremely limited.

    Those who have traveled to the Spirit World and returned to tell of it speak of a place of incomprehensible variety. The areas of the Spirit World closely connected to the Natural World seem fairly familiar, almost safe (though there are always exceptions to this rule). The farther one travels into the Spirit World, however, the more fantastic and dangerous things become. Laws like gravity can change unpredictably. Magic can function in completely different ways or be absent altogether. Time and space can flow at different rates and in different directions. Strange creatures abound.

    Some areas of the Spirit World are dominated by elemental powers that change the very atmosphere and make the air too cold to breathe or scorch the lungs with fire. Others are controlled by powerful evil spirits whose very presence can cause a mortal’s life force to ebb away. Still others are under the control of benevolent beings who provide a safe haven for travelers and denizens of the Spirit World. Most learned scholars assume that if it can be imagined, it can be found in the Spirit World.

    Because of the Spirit World’s infinite, inconsistent and highly varied nature, distances and directions are difficult to determine. Those who have studied the Spirit World or who have traveled there and returned safely find it difficult to use expressions of distance, direction or time with regard to the Spirit World. The only terms that most can agree upon describe the depth to which one has traveled, as if the Spirit World were and ocean or a pool of quicksand. They speak of going “deeper” into the Spirit World and encountering strange creatures and mind-boggling landscapes. They tell of “shallow” areas of the Spirit World where natural laws are more frequently applicable and the terrain and creatures resemble the Natural World. Indeed, some theorize that the Spirit World exists within the Natural World; stretching infinitely inward in ways natural beings cannot understand.

    Spirit World Traits
    • Normal Gravity: In general, the Spirit World is affected by normal laws of gravitation. However, as with everything in the Spirit World, there are exceptions; areas without gravity or where gravity pulls from a different direction.
    • Normal Time: In general, time passes in the Spirit World as it would in the Natural World. However, as with everything in the Spirit World, there are exceptions; areas where time stands still or progresses at a quicker rate.
    • Infinite: At least as far as anyone knows, the Spirit World is unbounded, stretching infinitely in all directions. Those who have studied the Spirit World or who have traveled there and returned speak only of going “deeper” into the Spirit World and returning to “shallower” regions.
    • Alterable Morphic: In general, objects and creatures in the Spirit World change only when acted upon by an outside force. However, as with anything in the Spirit World, there are exceptions.
    • Elemental, Energy, and Alignment Traits: In general, the Spirit World does not have a single dominant element, energy or alignment. There are, however, a number of areas where one or more of these forces are dominant. In these areas, the appropriate traits apply.
    • Normal Magic: In general, magic in the Spirit World functions as it would in the Natural World. However, as with anything in the Spirit World, there are exceptions; areas where magic is impeded or heightened or behaves chaotically.


    The Space Between

    Between the boundaries of the Natural World and the Spirit World there exists an empty space; an airless, mostly-empty void that stretches to every boundary of the natural or Spirit World in a labyrinth of narrow passageways. This void is known as the Space Between

    The Space Between is seldom visited. It is a harsh environment for anyone not native to it; a gravity-less vacuum in which bits of matter of many sizes float, providing a modicum of stability for its few denizens. Some of the larger of these chunks of rock house the Space Between’s few denizens as well as the homes and fortresses of those few beings who have managed to travel from the Natural World and make a life for themselves in the Space Between.

    The Space Between Traits
    • No Gravity: The Space Between has no natural gravity of its own. However, there are objects floating in the void that can provide gravity, especially the large, asteroid-like rocks that can occasionally be found. On these locations, conditions of light gravity prevail (+2 circumstance bonus to Balance, Climb, Jump and Tumble checks, the maximum height and length of Jump checks are doubled, objects weigh half as much as the would on the material plane, falling damage dice are reduced to d4’s) and gravity pulls creatures and objects toward the center of the object providing the gravity.
    • Normal Time
    • Boundaries: The Space Between is bounded on all sides by the Spirit World and the Natural World. It consists of a bewildering series of tunnels and narrow passageways between the two worlds. Unless a portal or breach is present, a creature or object reaching the border on one side of a branch of the Space Between finds itself on the opposite side.
    • Alterable Morphic
    • Impeded Magic: By and large, spells function in the Space Between as they would in the Natural World. However, spells that require atmosphere (Gust of Wind and the like) will not function in the vacuum of the Space Between. In addition, spells of the Conjuration (teleportation) subschool do not function in the Space Between.
    • Vacuum: The Space Between is completely devoid of atmosphere. Unprotected creatures must immediately begin making Constitution checks to avoid suffocation and take 2d6 damage per round in the Space Between as the pressure differences place enormous strain on their bodies. A successful DC 30 Fortitude Save halves this damage. A Necklace of Adaptation or similar spells will allow creatures to breathe in the airless void but does not protect against damage from the low pressure.
    • Creatures in the Space Between count as two sizes smaller for the purpose of adjudicating wind effects.


    Travel Between the Worlds

    The primary method of travel between the Natural World, the Spirit World and the Space Between is the use of magic spells or similar abilities. Powerful and knowledgeable casters can use the Plane Shift ritual (see Chapter 5) to travel directly between the Natural World and the Spirit World. Spells or powers that rely on the existence of specific planes (i.e. the plane of shadow, the ethereal plane, etc.) still function in the Scroungers setting, transporting the users to a location in the Spirit World that roughly corresponds to the characteristics of the plane targeted by the spell.

    Plane Shift, the primary method of conventional interplanar travel, is a difficult magical ritual and requires the assistance of a number of ritual participants to perform. Mages who need to traverse planar boundaries quickly most often rely on planar breaching (Planar Handbook, p. 151), a cruder method of travel. The mages of Stha Lui have developed spells that can create a crack in the fabric of the worlds, allowing the caster and her allies to move from one plane to another. Travel in this way is somewhat unreliable but can be performed more quickly and with less support than more conventional methods.

    Spellcasters using planar breaching must first open a breach to the Space Between. From there they can travel to any area of the Spirit World or Natural World they are familiar with, whether from personal experience, research or hearsay. While a planar traveler must actually traverse the Space Between to reach a specific destination in the Natural World, the constantly-shifting nature of the Spirit World means that a spellcaster can create a planar breach to any location in the Spirit World, regardless of their location in the Space Between. Spells like Know Planar Location can be invaluable in navigating the Space Between, especially when traveling back to the Natural World from the Spirit World.

    As an alternative to magical methods of travel, individuals wishing to cross planar boundaries can use naturally occurring links between the worlds. Certain spiritually-significant sites allow residents of the Natural World and the Spirit World to pass across the boundary, though no natural portals to the Space Between have ever been found. Perhaps the best-known portal between the planes is the moon. Scholars believe that, when the moon is full, it serves as a massive portal between the Spirit World and the Natural World. A full moon allows passage both ways and can strengthen extra-planar creatures on both sides of the boundary.

    Religion and Deities

    The mixing of cultures and races, the political needs of ruling groups and the overarching cataclysm of the Torrent have resulted in a complicated religious situation on Stha Lui. This chapter hopes to outline the nature of religious practice in the Scroungers campaign setting.

    The Gods of the Faithful

    The ancient texts speak of a divinity that is at once fourfold and singular; simultaneously four separate identities and one unified being. These four gods, aligned to the four points of the compass, meet in the lives of their devotees just as north, south, east, and west always meet at Here.

    The Faithful look to the four winds to instruct them in the nature of the gods, believing that each wind is the thought, word, and will of its lord. Even as the four winds have different characteristics, so too are the four gods different.

    While the Faithful are exhorted to keep the gods in their hearts always, their thoughts prayers rise to the four corners of the world four times per day. Responding to the lilting, somber drone of the zehaan, the Faithful are obligated to lift prayers to each god once per day. At dawn, they face the rising sun and lift their prayers to Shaayaq, the god of the east. Just before noon, they turn toward the south and call upon Jaanb, the god of the south. In the early evening, they gaze upon the light of the setting sun and pray to Laghrat, the god of the west. And finally, before retiring to the night, they beseech Shom, the god of the north, for safety in the dark and cold. Some pray on their knees, some on their feet, some with their foreheads pressed into the ground, but all are obligated to pray.

    The Faithful, limited as they are by mortal language, use masculine pronouns and metaphors to describe the gods but believe that the gods themselves are beyond description in the tongues of the world. They are not described in physical terms, nor is it permitted for images of them to be crafted. The gods defy mortal attempts to categorize and describe them, being in all ways greater than mortal thought can conceive.

    Finally, while the four gods appear separate to the unbeliever, the Faithful know that their true nature is singular. As such, none of the four is ever worshiped separate from the others. Those who dare suggest that the gods’ true nature is separate are cast out of the community and often face injury and death at the hands of the Faithful.

    Before the Torrent, the four gods were almost universally-worshiped. Powerful spells like Commune meant that devotees blessed with magical skills could speak with emissaries of the gods. The four gods themselves rarely (only in extremely special circumstances and never at the instigation of their devotees) responded to these contacts. However, their servants (powerful angelic, spiritual beings) did interact with mortals on their behalf.

    In the years following the Torrent, however, these links were severed and it became clear that something fundamental had changed in the Spirit World. For whatever reason, the four gods had withdrawn beyond the reach of mortals. While the world itself remains as a testament to their continued existence, its upheavals have become more frequent and violent in the four gods’ absence. Storms, earthquakes and fires are more common than they once were. As mortal suffering mounted, people began to fall away from the worship of the four gods and seek spiritual truths elsewhere.

    Today, the gods of the Faithful are almost universally-worshiped among the Shokhanids and the deep dwarves, but they command many adherents among the newcomers as well; particularly among the Aadipurans and halflings of Śetaig and the Fádech Desert, where sizeable communities adhere to the teachings of the Faithful. Their houses of worship dot the landscape; some have fallen into disrepair and disuse, others are flourishing places of meeting, fellowship, and prayer.

    Shaayaq
    Shaayaq, the god of the east, is believed to be the most benevolent of the four gods of the Faithful. The Faithful say that the east wind can cheer up the saddest person, if only for a little while. Shaayaq embodies the hope that comes with the morning, the possibilities of the rising sun, and with new beginnings both sad and joyful. He is also tied to the light, wet winds that come from the east and rise over the Mountains, raining life-giving moisture on their eastern slopes before crossing the peaks and gradually settling back down in the Hinterlands, where they discharge the rest of their moisture in gentle showers.
    Holy Symbol: A stylized sun with numerous rays

    Jaanb
    Jaanb, the god of the south, embodies and exemplifies the traits of the winds that come from the south. He is ponderous; slow to act but overwhelming in his power. His winds are often humid; life-giving and hospitable but also oppressive. They can be dry; the scorching, burning winds that whip over the dunes and strip exposed flesh from its bones. They are hot; not the comfortable warmth of the east but the overwhelming heat of the desert or the jungle. He rewards those who endure under long difficulty but also sustains those who serve him.
    Holy Symbol: A cloud, heavy and grey with rain

    Laghrat
    Laghrat, the god of the west, is the god of things that end. He is associated with the setting sun, with the end of life, and with the change of the seasons. He is also linked to the end of journeys and the conclusion of times of struggle. His winds are brisk and dry, bringing an end to the wetter, gentler winds of Shaayaq but also bringing sailors safely back to their home ports.
    Holy Symbol: A clay oil lamp lit with a flickering flame

    Shom
    Shom, the god of the north, is as wild and harsh as the cold winds that swirl through the high peaks of the Mountains. He is distant, cold, and aloof, lacking the loving and cheerful nature of Shaayaq or the overbearing concern of Jaanb. He can also be furious in his anger, wreaking destruction on those who oppose him or wish harm upon the Faithful. On the other hand, he is the source of trials and strength for those who believe in him. Through the testing of Shom, the strong of the Faithful are tempered and hammered into more perfect instruments of the gods.
    Holy Symbol: A stylized icicle

    The Gods of the Faithful in the Game
    The gods of the Faithful, as simultaneously one and many, do not lend themselves well to the typical system of portfolios, domains, and favored weapons so prevalent in other settings. Clerics devoted to the gods of the Faithful may select any domains, as long as their personal outlook and alignment match their domains. Similarly, a cleric of the gods of the Faithful may select any single martial or simple weapon to serve as her favored weapon. She must make this choice at character creation and cannot change it thereafter. The gods of the Faithful are generally considered to be Neutral Good or True Neutral.

    Optional Rule: Regional Favored Weapons
    As with so many other things, a character’s home region is often more important than her deity’s favored weapon when determining the type of training she receives. A character may select to use her region’s favored weapon instead of her deity’s favored weapon for all purposes. She must make this choice at character creation and cannot change it thereafter. The regional favored weapons are:

    {table=head]Region|Favored Weapon
    Genzland|Longspear
    Tanu ya Nzadi|Battleaxe
    Home Territory|Dagger
    Śetaig|Shortbow
    Qileka|Short Sword
    Aadipura|Guisarm
    The Mountains|Heavy Pick
    The Hinterlands|Longbow
    The Śathadva Islands|Greatclub
    The Fádech Desert|Kukri
    Shokhestan|Scimitar[/table]
    The New Gods



    As the Torrent raged around them, clerics who reached out to the gods felt their spells fail. In the years that followed, intrepid priests and mages tentatively reached out once again, only to find their Commune and Contact Other Plane spells continuing to fizzle and die.

    Over time, convinced that the four gods had truly abandoned the world, new religious sects began to develop around the beings clerics remembered interacting with in the past; the lesser spirits who were believed to serve as messengers and subordinates and who still occasionally answered to Commune rituals. As more and more worshipers looked for solace, blessing and solutions to specific problems, more sects were founded and the number of devotees of the new gods increased.

    The new gods do not constitute a united pantheon by any stretch of the imagination, though most of their devotees believe that relationships exist between some or all of them. There are, however, some unifying beliefs that link their devotees together. Foremost among them is the increasingly-popular belief that the four gods of the Faithful never existed and that the new gods are the only real deities. Second, they believe that there is no ultimate separation between the mortal and the divine. Just as mortals can breach the fabric of the planes and travel to the spirit world, so too can they participate in the lives of the gods. To be sure, the gods are vastly more powerful than any mortal, but the difference is one of degree, not of kind.

    Unlike the gods of the Faithful, the new gods are believed to be comprehensible to mortals. They have faces and physical appearances, limited (though still considerable) powers, specific areas of responsibility, well-defined personalities, understandable motivations, and character flaws. Images, statues, and paintings are used extensively in the worship of the new gods, where they serve as focuses for devotion and recipients of offering. The image is cleaned and bathed before offerings of money, fire, sweets, and rare spices are made at its feet. Many believe that these images serve as points of connection between the devotee and the deity, and that just beholding the image (even from a distance) establishes a momentary connection.

    Sample New God: Mah’kaari
    Mah’kaari is the god of disease and plague. Most worshipers see him as dispassionate, his diseases merely a part of life (though he spreads them with a wantonness and joy that many find disturbing). However, as happens so frequently within sects of the new gods, this view is far from universal. Some factions within the sect represent him as Neutral Evil, the bringer of death and destruction. Others represent him as Neutral Good, one who prevents plagues when properly placated.

    Mah’kaari is most often represented as an emaciated ascetic figure, clad in a loincloth made of the leaves of a wide variety of plants, usually stylizations of important herbs. He has 10 arms, each of which holds a vial or incense-burning device (the exact nature of these implements depends upon location and the prominent diseases of the area). His hands are usually postured to indicate waving or shaking as he distributes these diseases over the world. His symbols include an incense burner, a stoppered vial, a leaf, a scarf and a bloody tear, often drawn in ash on the devotee’s forehead.
    • Holy Symbol: A bloody tear
    • Portfolio: Disease, plague, pestilence, healing, death, life, purity and impurity
    • Domains: Death, Healing, Madness (Complete Divine), Pestilence (Complete Divine)
    • Favored Weapon: Light Flail

    Sample New God: Maata
    Maata is the patron of mothers, wives, grandmothers, and daughters. She is also worshiped for her ability to influence fertility (both human and of the land) and her powers over childbirth. She is often depicted sitting in a water lily with a child in her arms. While she is usually seen as a benevolent, relatively calm figure, she also represents the power of motherly affection. She has an alternate form, known as Larani, who represents the ability of mothers to fight for their loved ones. Larani is much fiercer than Maata and is often depicted in the midst of battle, a child slung on her back in a sling, battling slavers who are seen holding the chains of several young children. Maata, in her incarnation as Larani, has four arms and darker maroon skin.
    • Holy Symbol: A stylized child in a sling
    • Portfolio: Motherhood, family, childbirth, fertility, protection
    • Domains: As Maata – Healing, Good, Charm (Spell Compendium). As Larani – War, Good, Strength
    • Favored Weapon: Unarmed Strike. Clerics of Larani who select the War domain gain Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat instead of Martial Weapon Proficiency.

    Sample New God: Amanu
    Amanu is the god of tantric practitioners, renouncers, rebels, and anyone who exists outside the law. He is also worshiped by thieves, but they aren’t included in his primary responsibility. Amanu is often depicted as a wandering ascetic, emaciated, clad only in a simple loin cloth and carrying little except his begging bowl and his staff.
    • Holy Symbol: A begging bowl, occasionally skull-shaped
    • Portfolio: Asceticism, renunciation, rejection of normal society, rebellion, thievery
    • Domains: Asceticism, Knowledge, Luck, Travel, Trickery
    • Favored Weapon: Quarterstaff

    Sample New God: Mephibosheth
    Mephibosheth is the god that rules over the making and maintenance of contracts, promises, covenants, and agreements of all types. He works to ensure that the sanctity of a covenant is maintained, that promises are kept, and that “my word is my bond” still has meaning. He is especially powerful when the covenant involves family or community ties. Mephibosheth is most often depicted as a young man leaning heavily on the haft of a guisarm. His legs appear slightly misshapen and underdeveloped, and he moves in a deliberate, cumbersome fashion. He most often appears wearing dark robes with a hood that covers his face. His symbols are the guisarm that he wields, a small and elaborately-carved model of a banquet table, a rolled up scroll, and a quill pen. Any of these emblems indicate Mephibosheth’s influence, and contracts commonly include a drawing of his quill pen and his scroll near the area where the signatures are written.
    • Holy Symbol: A quill pen
    • Portfolio: Promises, contracts, covenants, agreements, family, communities, underdogs
    • Domains: Community (Spell Compendium), Law, Luck, Protection
    • Favored Weapon: Guisarm

    The New Gods in the Game
    This book, while it provides examples of the new gods, does not provide game rules for all of them. The new gods are too numerous to even scratch the surface and too diverse to adequately represent in a single book. Individual DMs should populate their Scroungers world with new gods and players should be encouraged to participate. If a player wants their character to be a devotee of a specific deity, the DM should work with the player to craft the story and rules for that deity or adapt it to Stha Lui’s cultural, religious, and linguistic context. DMs should not shy away from establishing relationships between different gods. Perhaps a new deity is merely a second incarnation of another, more powerful god. Perhaps a new goddess is the consort, wife, or daughter of an already-established deity.

    The Nameless Gods

    Scroungers, sailors, fishermen, and those who live on the coasts have begun to worship a group of nameless gods. The nameless gods are associated with the waves, the wind, storms, and other facets of life on, in, or near the sea.

    In some ways like the gods of the Faithful, the nameless gods are as faceless as the natural phenomena over which they govern. Their temples are as austere and hard as the reality of life at sea. Unlike the gods of the Faithful, however, their worshippers know little about them; neither their motivations nor their personalities. Their existence is accepted as a matter of pragmatic necessity and because lack of evidence to the contrary. They inspire more fear than love.

    The nameless gods are most commonly revered as a group, with the faces and personalities of the individual nameless gods remaining unknown. While some profess greater faith in one or the other of the nameless gods, most who ply the seas lift their prayers to the nameless gods together, hoping to receive the blessing of all the gods and ensure a safe voyage. The ire of even one of the nameless gods can spell disaster. They are known by different names (the Sea God, the Wind God, the God Below the Waves, the Storm God, the Cold God, and others) but few if any know more about them.

    Like the old gods after the Torrent, the nameless gods, if they truly exist at all, are silent and distant. There have, however, been miracles and signs attributed to the nameless gods: sailors drowned at sea emerging alive again from the water, food found miraculously on bare and rocky islands, salt water turning sweet and saving men from thirst. These miracles are inconsistent and infrequent at best. Some of the nameless gods’ most faithful devotees have sought their aid consistently for decades and never received an iota of help. Others with little faith have been blessed.

    In the years following the Torrent, a sharp distinction has arisen between the nameless gods and the gods of the Faithful. The nameless gods have become the gods of the sea and the gods of the Faithful have become the gods of the land. The nameless gods are the gods of the bleak present; the gods of the Faithful are the gods of the utopian past. Devotees of the different gods coexist, but not without friction. The nameless gods are seen as hard, unfeeling, and callous by devotees of the old gods. The old gods are thought to be idle, decadent, and soft by those who follow the nameless gods.

    The religious distinction between land and sea is more than mere semantics. Devotees, especially of the nameless gods, believe that the gods are more powerful in their respective domains. The old gods are believed to be most powerful on land, with their power waning (or even disappearing) in the deep ocean. The nameless gods, on the other hand, are only powerful where water dominates the environment. Away from the ocean and other large bodies of water, the nameless gods are believed to be blind and powerless.

    The Nameless Gods in the Game
    Like lay worshippers, most clerics serve the nameless gods as a pantheon. Clerics of the nameless gods can select from the following domains: air, death, destruction, navigation*, travel, trickery, war, and water. Players using the Spell Compendium should add the following domains to those granted by the new gods: cold, ocean, storm, trade, and windstorm. Clerics who focus their devotion on one of the nameless gods should select domains that correspond to that god’s portfolio. Clerics of the nameless gods can select any single weapon from the following list as their favored weapon: battleaxe, guisarm, longbow, longsword, scythe, spear, and trident. The cleric makes this choice upon taking her first cleric level and cannot change it thereafter. The nameless gods are considered to be True Neutral or slightly Chaotic Neutral.

    The Prophesies
    The old gods’ apparent absence from the world was a serious blow to religious establishments throughout Stha Lui. Even among the landborn, where religious faith remains strongest, people are questioning their traditional beliefs. However, the divine voice is not completely lost to the world. In the decades following the Torrent and the old gods’ disappearance, as newcomers settled on Stha Lui and new societies began to emerge, certain individuals began to hear the voices of the old gods’ servants and to prophesy concerning their return.

    These prophets, while few in number, were scattered throughout Stha Lui’s religious and ethnic groups. They passed on a large number of Prophesies, each containing small bits of information. Some were recorded, others were not. Some inevitably still remain to be discovered. However, all of them point to the old gods’ eventual return.

    The Prophesies tell of individuals who are to come. These individuals will be able to hear the old gods’ voices directly and act to bring about their return. Some prophetic scholars believe that these individuals will be a physical manifestation of aspects of the old gods’ powers; the four gods made flesh. Others argue that these individuals will be simple mortals, blessed by fate and devotion. Still others maintain that all four old gods will become incarnate within a single individual. The Prophesies themselves are somewhat ambiguous on this point. Whatever their nature, the Prophesies agree that their coming will herald a time of great struggle and sacrifice but also the return of homelands lost to the sea.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-04-15 at 09:10 AM.
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    Default [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Sett

    Life in the World of Scroungers

    The Lands of Stha Lui

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    Aadipura

    Capital: Dekhi
    Population: 8,000,000 (Aadipurans 60%, halflings 19%, Gensche 11%, other 10%)
    Government: Monarchy
    Major Industries: Agriculture, fishing, river transportation and trade
    Languages: Aadipuran

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    Aadipura is the oldest of Stha Lui’s newcomer kingdoms. Founded in the year 13 AT, Aadipura once encompassed much of present-day Genzland and the Home Territory. Negotiations and small-scale battles following the arrival of the halflings in 60 AT and the Gensche in 81 AT saw the reduction of Aadipura’s coastal possessions. However, with the violence of the Torrent, the challenges of sea travel, the difficulties of establishing new homes and the ongoing threat of violence from the landborn, none of the newcomer groups were able to mobilize truly powerful armies for this sort of war. Thus, the Aadipurans soon relinquished their northern possessions and concentrated on consolidating their control of the River and the Dekhi Canal.

    Aadipura’s power flows from the River and its control of the intersection between the River and the Canal. The kingdom’s territory hugs the banks of the river and stretches inland to the edges of the Forest Hills. The terrain is largely flat and grassy, with patches of swamp and the occasional hill or bluff close to the River. The Aadipurans maintain their control by force of arms and economic power rather than formidable natural defenses.

    Industries
    The majority of Aadipura’s population is engaged in agriculture. Most farmers focus on wet rice cultivation. The Aadipurans channel water from the River, the Canal and rainwater collection tanks into large irrigation projects to feed wet rice and other water-intensive cultivation. Other staple crops include potatoes, onions and other tubers. A significant portion of the population is also engaged in river and ocean fishing operations, using traditional Aadipuran fishing techniques and boat technology.

    In many ways, the need to construct and maintain irrigation systems governs much of Aadipura’s agricultural life. Near the River and the Canal, the Aadipurans have constructed elaborate series of permanent and semi-permanent open canals to bring water from the river to outlying fields and control flooding. Farther away, many Aadipuran farming communities have sprung up round abandoned Shokhanid qanats; extensive structures that bring water through miles of underground channels and deep wells. Some of these qanats reach even beyond Aadipura into the Hinterlands, where they are the foundation of some of the most prosperous Hinterlands farms.

    While most Aadipurans are engaged in food production, transit trade and transportation on the River and the Dekhi Canal are the lifeblood of the Aadipuran economy and affect all other aspects of economic life in Aadipura. Aadipura’s location and their well-honed riverboat techniques have allowed them to dominate river transportation between the Hinterlands and the coastal areas around Home and Śetaig. Aadipurans operate most of Stha Lui’s transportation companies and the government extracts significant tax income from transit trade. Their caravanserais dot the banks of the River and the Canal and are often the safest and most comfortable place to lodge outside of the major cities.

    Government and Politics
    The government of Aadipura is based in the city of Dekhi. Located at the intersection of the River and the Dekhi Canal, Dekhi is a major trading hub. Its status as the seat of the Aadipuran government ensures that the rulers can wrap their hands around the pulse of Stha Lui’s commerce.

    Aadipura is nominally ruled by a hereditary monarch; a member of the Janatha family and a descendant of the leader who guided the first Aadipurans to Stha Lui during the Torrent. However, the location of actual political power shifts frequently depending on the strength of an individual monarch. Most often, despite commanding significant popular legitimacy, the Aadipuran king is simply a figurehead manipulated by a small group of powerful merchants and businessmen working together to shift government policy in their favor.

    In addition to the city of Dekhi, Aadipuran power is centered on the River. Even outside of the reach of the Aadipuran king’s control, Aadipuran merchant and transport organizations hold sway up and down the River and narrow strips of land along its banks, reaching from the western shore to deep in the Hinterlands. Because of the close ties between the Aadipuran king and the merchant organizations, this means that Aadipuran laws and customs (or at least some portions of them), can be found all along the River’s banks.

    The current king, Ram Janatha III, is well-intentioned but weak. He attempted to institute reforms and limit the power of the merchants early in his reign but has since come increasingly under their sway.

    Important Sites

    Dekhi: Among the great cities of Stha Lui, Dekhi is second only to Home in size, population, and complexity. Sitting astride the River and the Dekhi Canal, the city is a major center for trade between the western coastal cities, the Hinterlands and the eastern mountains. Merchants based in Dekhi ply the River and the Canal for miles in both directions. Their outposts and caravanserai’s are often the only connection between small Hinterlands settlements and the larger world.

    Dekhi is crowded, dusty and overwhelmingly brown. The crush of its enormous population means that the streets are always thronged and a cloud of dust hangs low over its rooftops, stirred up by the tramping feet of men and animals. The city’s buildings are built predominantly of mud brick and adobe, with as little wood used as possible. Most buildings are only two stories tall, though every few blocks a wood-framed three- or four-story building (most often prosperous inns) will rise above the others.

    The central city is surrounded by a large wall and laid out in an orderly grid, with a few large open crossroads and squares (called “bazaars”) serving as nodes of commerce and places of meeting. In general, the city’s commerce is arranged along different streets, with stores selling similar merchandise all on the same few blocks. The only exceptions to this rule are the markets selling food, which are scattered about the city as the demands of population dictate. The city is modeled after the ideal Aadipuran cities that supposedly existed before the Torrent.

    Outside the wall, the city is far more haphazard, as slums and lower class neighborhoods have sprung up almost spontaneously. Here the streets are narrow and curving and none of the buildings are more than two stories tall. The only exception is the temple district. Here numerous temples to the various Aadipuran gods still flourish on the northern bank of the holy River.

    Farther still from the central city are the mansions of Dekhi’s truly wealthy residents. These huge homes line the River and are walled off from the world around. Every day, private river barges take their owners into the city where they engage in commerce of all sorts.


    Fádech Desert

    Capital: None
    Population: 400,000 (halflings 80%, Shokhanid 6%, elves 4%, deep dwarves 2%, other 8%)
    Government: Tribal
    Major Industries: Hunting and gathering, subsistence dry-land agriculture, salt, glass
    Languages: Halfling

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    The Fádech Desert is a forbidding place, tucked deep into the rain shadow of the Mountains. Dry, dusty and windy, its dunes and salt flats can support few life forms. Only the specially adapted or extremely hardy survive. The region is sparsely-populated, but semi-nomadic groups of halflings and other races manage to eke out a harsh existence in the desert, living in seasonal cliff dwellings and camps on the outskirts of the ergs and flats.

    Mortals settled in the Fádech Desert fairly recently. Most of the settlers were halflings whose nomadic lifestyle lent itself to the needs of desert survival. Of those halflings and others who settled in the Fádech Desert, most were descended from pre-Torrent desert-dwelling groups and migrated to the Fádech Desert in search of a familiar homeland.

    Their populations were (and remain) small, as the Torrent and subsequent ocean wanderings took their toll on populations unfamiliar with the ways of ships and sails. Exhausted and desperate, they landed on Stha Lui near Śetaig and began the long overland trek through the Hinterlands (then still populated with pockets of hostile Shokhanids) into the desert. They arrived and established their small tribal communities, with only those groups on the fringes of the desert maintaining close contact with the outside world.

    Industries
    The Fádech Desert is too remote and hostile to support economic activity beyond subsistence. Most denizens of the desert, however, prefer this sort of lifestyle and see little reason to involve themselves in the broader economic life of Stha Lui. The Fádech halflings and the few groups of non-halflings who make the desert their home practice small-scale dry-land agriculture using wind traps, water storage tanks and limited irrigation. They also engage in significant animal husbandry, especially in the dry grasslands that surround the desert. Desert dwellers raise everything from goats and horses to lizards and other large desert reptiles; anything that could provide meat or milk or leather.

    Those few Fádech communities that engage in trade focus mostly on desert products. They trade salt, leather, glass and semi-precious stones to Aadipuran merchants in exchange for foodstuffs, wood, ores and other products unavailable in the desert. Fádech communities are known for producing some of the finest glassware on Stha Lui.

    Government and Politics
    The Fádech Desert is far from a united polity. Almost all of the region’s denizens live in semi-nomadic tribal groups ranging between 500 and 5000 individuals. Some of these tribes are organized into broader tribal confederacies but most are not. Almost all of them maintain several seasonal “villages” in cliffs and other sheltered areas, moving between them throughout the year.

    The tribes of the Fádech Desert live by a complicated code of honor the principal tenet of which deals with vengeance. If slighted, a tribe will go to great lengths to avenge itself upon its rival, usually in limited but bloody raids and assassinations. Tradition dictates what sort of revenge is appropriate and when the increasingly-violent cycle of retribution should stop, but most tribes are involved in at least one or two blood feuds at any given time. That travel is so difficult, the region is so remote and cliff villages are so hard to find and attack ensures that this revenge violence remains limited in scale. It is, however, a part of life in the Fádech Desert.

    Many of the halfling-majority tribes gather once every couple years in a large fair and meeting. This gathering, which takes place where the River skirts the Fádech Desert and begins to head west toward the ocean, is a precious opportunity for the desert tribes to relax, celebrate, mingle and trade. All vendettas and conflicts are put aside for this brief time. Certain hierarchies and power dynamics assert themselves, but the tribes are, by-and-large, quite egalitarian.


    Genzland

    Capital: Genzbald
    Population: 6,000,000 (Gensche 72%, Aadipurans 16%, sea dwarves 6%, elves 2%, other 4%)
    Government: Confederacy of mostly-feudal monarchic city-states
    Major Industries: Logging and wood products, ship-building, mining and metalworking
    Languages: Gensche

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    The vast forests of Genzland are a coveted resource. They are controlled by the Gensche, a group of humans who began arriving in 81 AT. They landed at what would become Genzbald and quickly encountered Aadipurans, entering into a prolonged low-intensity war over the forested lands, with small groups of combatants moving stealthily through the trees and carrying out surprise attacks. After some years, the Aadipurans began to withdraw, realizing that the Gensche were resolute enough to continue the war almost indefinitely. With the Treaty of Home in 90AT, the boundaries between Aadipura and Genzland were codified and the two polities began to develop economic instead of military relations.

    Genzland is a hilly, rocky territory. The western two-thirds are covered in dense forests of evergreen, oak and ash. The eastern portion is rockier still, boasting some of the highest peaks of the Forest Hills and an abundance of mineral wealth.

    Industries
    The Gensche economy is dominated by logging and timber industries. Genzland supplies most of the timber used in newcomer territories. Gensche control the most successful shipyards, provide wood for building and furniture construction, and craft most of the wooden items used in Stha Lui.

    The Forest Hills also bring significant mineral wealth to Genzland. The Gensche are expert miners and blacksmiths and extract significant quantities of iron and other metals from the eastern areas of their control.

    Government and Politics
    The Gensche live in small city-states tucked into the woods and hills. Mostly-independent, these city-states coexist with each other in complicated patterns of alliances and patronage, all subordinate to the king in Genzbald.

    Given the importance of logging to the Gensche economy, forces involved in this trade are also very powerful. The major timber merchants have substantial influence over the rulers of the Gensche city-states. Additionally, the monarchy maintains close ties to Gensche druidic organizations responsible for preventing over-zealous harvesting of timber. The Gensche know that theirs is a finite resource and are keen to preserve it for future generations. With a few exceptions, the rulers of city-states do not allow indiscriminate logging and require substantial investment in planting new trees and maintaining the health of the forests. Death is often the punishment for violating these laws.


    The Hinterlands

    Capital: None
    Population: 1,000,000 (Aadipurans 30%, Gensche 25%, halflings 35%, elves 10%)
    Government: None
    Major Industries: Agriculture, animal husbandry
    Languages: Any

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    The Hinterlands, the vast grassland separating the Mountains from the coastal plains, is far from a unified political unit. Even the fractious systems of governance in Tanu ya Nzadi and the Fádech Desert seem organized and strong compared to the patchwork of landholdings that make up the Hinterlands. It is said that anyone can be a king here, at least until another comes to replace him.

    It was in the Hinterlands that the last battles between landborn and newcomers took place. Desperate for more agricultural land to feed their growing populations, the rulers of Aadipura, Genzland, and Śetaig formed a loose coalition known as the First Alliance. They marched west from Dekhi in 172 AT, following the River through the seas of grass that make of the Hinterlands. Their forces clashed with landborn armies composed mostly Shokhanid troops and small contingents of deep dwarves in a number of pitched battles. The landborn, many having already begun the slow process of retreating back to the Mountains, were overwhelmed by the combined power of the newcomers and driven from the Hinterlands.

    Restless newcomers rushed into the Hinterlands to take over the landborn holdings, establishing farms and ranches and reveling in the vast tracts of land. Over the years, as more and more people purchased or claimed land in the Hinterlands, it became difficult to find a tract that was not already occupied. Within 50 years of the landborn’s retreat, the Hinterlands were completely divided into a patchwork of individually-owned regions, each waiting eagerly for some disaster to befall its neighbors.

    Industry
    The Hinterlands are the breadbasket of Stha Lui. They supply the vast majority of all foodstuffs consumed by the more populous cities of the coast. Hinterlands farmers grow almost every temperate crop imaginable, using magic as much as possible to improve their yields but still inevitably falling short of the demands of cities like Home and Dekhi. Hinterlands ranchers raise cattle, swine, fowl and a bewildering variety of other livestock. Most of these products are delivered to numerous small river ports and boated down the River and Canal by Aadipuran merchants. Some farmers choose instead to send their produce with halfling caravans instead, which cart the goods to Śetaig for sale.

    Government and Politics
    The Hinterlands are sparsely-populated but completely settled. There are very few towns or cities; most of the population lives in concentrated plantation communities (many of them mostly underground) so that as much land as possible may be devoted to farming. Often, Aadipuran and halfling caravanserais provide the only accommodations travelers may see for weeks. Consequently, government is irrelevant and far-away in most parts of the Hinterlands, though landowners often do some policing and enforce their own laws on their lands. Little regulation exists, however, to govern relations between landowners.


    Home Territory

    Capital: Home
    Population: 5,000,000 (Aadipurans 30%, Gensche 20%, halflings 20%, elves 10%, sea dwarves 7%, vanar 4%, Shokhanid 6%, deep dwarves 3%)
    Government: quasi-elected oligarchy
    Major Industries: scrounging and ocean-going trade
    Languages: Any

    Spoiler
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    The city of Home, including the surrounding Home Territory, is the largest and most densely-populated urban area in Stha Lui. It is a racial, ethnic and linguistic melting-pot where elves, halflings, dwarves and humans of all types live next to each other. Life in the Home Territory is not always peaceful or prosperous and is characterized by noise, filth, congestion and chaos.

    Before the Torrent, the city that would become Home was already a thriving center of trade; connecting the miners and masons of the Mountains, the pastoralists and herdsmen of the semi-nomadic people in what would become the Hinterlands, and the craftsmen and agriculturalists of the flatlands to the west. Commerce flowed down the River and across the plains to Home.

    When the first Aadipurans came to Stha Lui in 13 AT, they landed nearby and settled in and among the buildings left behind by Shokhanids retreating from the flood. The fort and covered bazaar south of the River, the Shahrid-e Mir farther inland, and other Shokhanid landmarks became the centers of sprawling communities of Aadipurans who built homes, businesses, and temples of their own. Home’s sheltered harbor and easy access to the River made it an ideal place to establish a city. It grew quickly and has remained the single most politically-important city in Stha Lui.

    With the waning of Aadipuran power and the arrival of the Gensche and the halflings, Home began to become the melting-pot it is today. The influx of people from different groups led to conflict, especially as the struggle over Genzland between the Aadipurans and the newly-arrived Gensche waxed. With the Aadipuran withdrawal and the spread of halfling and Gensche influence, it became clear that a formal delineation of territories was necessary. Representatives from the three main groups met in Home in 90 AT and signed the Treaty of Home. The treaty codified the boundaries of Aadipura, Genzland, and Śetaig and established the Home Territory as a self-governing city-state independent of any specific racial, ethnic or linguistic bloc.

    All of the races of Stha Lui recognize that an independent Home Territory is in their interests. They fear the oppression or massacre of their brethren living in Home should an opposing group come to power. There is an unspoken and unwritten agreement that no outside faction will interfere with the politics of the Home Territory.

    Industries
    The Home Territory is almost entirely urban. The city takes up a significant portion of the Territory and the surrounding slums and squatter communities spread for miles in every direction. Thus, there is little if any space for agriculture, mining or other traditional economic enterprise to flourish.

    In the absence of these modes of production, Home’s economy is driven almost entirely by trade. It is the one city in Stha Lui where absolutely anything is available for sale or barter. It is the world’s largest hub of ocean-going commerce, a major center for caravan and peddling trade, the ultimate destination of most of Stha Lui’s river trade and the single largest scrounger port. Every resident of the Home Territory derives his income in some way from trade whether through direct involvement or in a support role as an inn employee, money-lender, or simple dock worker.

    Government and Politics
    Home is governed by a council of powerful merchants and other prominent residents. This council is divided along ethnic and racial lines and councilors are ostensibly elected by their racial or ethnic constituents. Occasionally, this is actually the case. More frequently however, bribery, corruption, and vote bank politics bring members of the same families and organizations to power again and again. Nepotism, cronyism, and intimidation abound in council politics.

    The decisions of the council are only occasionally relevant to the day-to-day politics of life in Home. The councilors know better than to upset the business and trade interests that truly run the city. Most people are only peripherally aware of the council. Local political bosses, businessmen, and criminal leaders are the more real political figures for most residents of Home.

    Home’s incredibly diverse population works to discourage outright racial or ethnic violence but it does happen on a fairly regular basis. The population has tended to settle in fairly homogeneous enclaves within the city where racial or ethnic gangs are common. However, the violence is usually low-intensity and related to criminal activity rather than simple communal sentiment. Nevertheless, there are areas of the city where the wise Aadipuran never walks alone or the prudent elf simply avoids.


    The Mountains

    Capital: Tehtgah
    Population: 3,000,000 (deep dwarves 80%, Shokhanid 20%)
    Government: Monarchy/benevolent military dictatorship
    Major Industries: mining and metalworking, go-stone industries
    Languages: Dwarven

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    The Mountains tower above the plains of Stha Lui, rising to incredible heights and fencing the plateau from the ocean around it. North of the River, the Mountains jut up from the flatlands in a near-vertical massif of rock with only a few gorges and high passes interrupting the cliff face. Farther south, the rise is more gradual. A range of tall foothills leads to a high plateau, fenced on the far side by truly towering peaks. The Mountains are cold, windy and forbidding, at least on the surface.

    The vast majority of the population of the Mountains lives underground, in the cavern cities of the deep dwarves. For thousands of years, deep dwarves have carved their dwellings from the stone and worked mines deep under the earth. Today, with the arrival of the newcomers and accompanying hostilities, the dwarven cities are nothing short of nearly-impregnable mountain fastnesses where the deep dwarves and their Shokhanid allies live in safety or build up their strength to advance against the newcomers.

    Once, the deep dwarves dominated much of Stha Lui. Their cities could be found in coastal cliffs and the Forest Hills. Dwarven communities hugged the steeper banks of the River, living off the trade that passed down its length. They developed close cultural and economic ties with the Shokhanids. Both societies flourished.

    While their lands were not inundated by the Torrent, the deep dwarves’ lives were irreversibly changed by the flood. The arrival of the newcomers drove the deep dwarves and their Shokhanid allies into the Mountains and instigated a simmering resentment that remains to this day.

    Industries
    The deep dwarves are peerless miners, inventors, and craftsmen. Their society survives on the abundant mineral resources of their mountain homes and the high quality of their craftsmanship. Even the newcomers, for whom dwarf-made items are rare and politically-sensitive, value their high-quality craftsmanship and will go to great lengths to acquire dwarven items.

    In addition to mining and metalworking, the deep dwarves are at the forefront of go-stone technology. Deep dwarven smiths invented many of the pioneering go-stone devices (especially those not related to ocean travel) and were the first to use go-stone to enhance weapons and armor. They employ go-stone heavily in their military forces. Even among the newcomers, many of the best go-stone technicians are deep dwarven quislings.

    While their mountain cities are ideal for the acquisition of mineral wealth, they cannot produce large quantities of food, though they do cultivate mushrooms and other fungi and cave plants. The deep dwarves rely heavily on their relationship with the Shokhanids for food, trading their manufactured goods and raw minerals for grain, fruit, and meat.

    Government and Politics
    The deep dwarves are governed by a king who also serves as the head of their military. The king is selected by the highest-ranking military officers. The throne is quasi-hereditary in the sense that, given the deep dwarves strong sense of tradition, members of the same family are almost always elected king. They have a tradition of competence and benevolence among their ruling groups, so choosing a member of the “royal family” is usually a good decision.


    Qileka

    Capital: Bandar
    Population: 750,000 (sea dwarves 80%, halflings 10%, Aadipurans 8%, deep dwarves 2%)
    Government: Ruling council of powerful fleet commanders and traders
    Major Industries: scrounging and ocean-going trade, fishing and whaling, naval mercenaries, go-stone industries
    Languages: Sea Dwarven

    Spoiler
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    The sea dwarves arrived in Stha Lui in 37 AT and quickly established port settlements on what they called the Qileka Islands. They took this name from the distant archipelago from whence they came. Due to their unparalleled maritime skills, a greater percentage of the sea dwarven population survived than any other group.

    At first, the sea dwarves were content with their island homes. Soon, however, they began to be involved in Stha Lui’s complex geopolitics and desired a mainland home of their own. With a less isolated base, the sea dwarves would be well positioned to parlay their naval and maritime prowess into prosperity.

    The deep dwarves’ weakness at sea was becoming increasingly apparent. Their first few vessels floundered and sank. Subsequent attempts were more successful but were easily outmaneuvered and defeated by superior newcomer ships. The sea dwarves, on the other hand, were skilled sailors and boat-builders but lacked the land and resources to take advantage of these traits. Desiring to secure an alliance, the deep dwarves allowed the sea dwarves to settle on the southern marches of the Mountains.

    The sea dwarves were anxious not to close any doors or overlook any opportunities and jumped at the chance to move onto the mainland. However, they refused to formally ally with the deep dwarves. Determined to remain neutral in broader conflict, the sea dwarves were able to maintain their status as middlemen and merchants extraordinaire, selling goods and providing transportation to all parties.

    Qileka’s geography facilitates this neutrality. Remote and rocky, the islands seem thrust out of the ocean in shear, violent cliffs. Even their mainland holdings are rougher and rockier than most coastlines. Only truly excellent sailors and navigators can make their way into the sea dwarves’ home ports.

    Industries
    While other races ply the seas, the sea dwarves are unmatched in their maritime skill. They are also scrupulous about maintaining their neutrality in Stha Lui’s geopolitical conflicts. As such, they are well positioned to profit by trading or selling their services to all sides. Most sea dwarves are involved in maritime trades in one way or another; whether as marines, fishermen, whalers, deckhands, or merchants. Sea dwarves are also well-represented among the scrounger ranks; often sailing farther and for longer periods than others dare. Finally, they were the first group to discover and harness the power of go-stone and pioneered its use in ocean-going vessels. Many sea dwarves still make a living developing and servicing go-stone machinery.

    Government and Politics
    Qileka is remote and travel between the islands is difficult. Most sea dwarven settlements are largely self-governing. There is, however, a small council of prominent merchants and ship captains that provides limited governance for the entire region. The council is primarily concerned with protecting Qileka’s neutrality and promoting trade. It usually falls on local governors and powerful individuals to enforce laws and keep the peace, which they usually do quite well.


    The Śathadva Islands

    Capital: None
    Population: 200,000 (Vanar 90%, Aadipurans 9%, other 1%)
    Government: Monarchy with extremely limited power
    Major Industries: None
    Languages: Vanar

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    For as long as anyone can remember, the Śathadva Islands (or the region that would become the Śathadva Islands) was the domain of the vanar, a semi-reclusive race of monkey-like humanoids who dwelt in the dense forests that blanketed the foothills of the mountains. Individually stronger and more powerful than any other sentient race, many people view the vanar as close to the gods and look to the Śathadva Islands for evidence of the deities’ return.

    It is true, though not widely known, that vanar were originally servants of the gods sent into the material world on specific missions but unable, for some reason, to return to their homes. They maintained a somewhat closer relationship to the gods as a result of this semi-divine heritage, at least until the deities’ departure left the world bereft of divine leadership.

    Still, the vanar were warned of the possibility of the Torrent before it began. Enough vanar heeded the warning that they were able to move much of their society to higher elevations before the rains came. Thus, the vanar survived the flood with traditional social and political structures more-or-less intact. They retain their tradition of isolationism, with the sole exception of the city of Eshwa Pura, which has a significant Aadipuran population and is an important last stop for scrounger crews heading west from Home, Śetaig, Bandar, and Aakhri.

    Industries
    The vanar have limited commercial relations with the rest of the world, relying almost entirely on their islands to produce food, tools, weapons and other vital commodities. They live in very small, self-contained communities populated by only a few families. Most vanar are hunter-gatherers, living off the bounty of their lush forest home.

    The only commercial center is the city of Eshwa Pura, which exists as a tie between the reclusive vanar and the Aadipurans with whom they have the closest ties and whose culture they share to a large extent. The city was founded by Aadipurans to serve as a last port of call for scrounger teams heading west, around which its economy still rotates. Its full-time population is small compared to cities like Home and Dekhi but it enables scrounger teams to purchase vanar produce and restock their ships for long journeys into the unknown.

    Government and Politics
    The vanar live in very small, mostly self-governing and very isolated communities. The Śathadva Islands are ruled as a whole by a hereditary monarch but his power is extremely limited. Most vanar are simply too concerned with their own lives and the affairs of their villages to necessitate anything resembling a national government. It is only in times of war and crisis that the power of the king waxes and vanar society becomes more coherent.

    This, however, is not true of Eshwa Pura, where the more concentrated population, the influx of outsiders and the rowdiness typical of scrounger crews necessitates more government regulation. Here the king is quite powerful and an elite guard of vanar soldiers ensures that things remain orderly and fairly safe.


    Śetaig

    Capital: Targaidh
    Population: 7,000,000 (60% Halfling, 20% Aadipuran, 10% Gensche, 6% sea dwarves, 4% other)
    Government: Representative council
    Major Industries: Overland trade, go-stone industries, scrounging and ocean-going trade, animal husbandry
    Languages: Halfling

    Spoiler
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    The flat, open country between the ocean and the semi-permanent city Targaidh is called Śetaig after it first city and principal port. Controlled by the halflings, Śetaig is one of the largest tracts of undivided land in Stha Lui. Its open grasslands are ideal for the nomadic, wandering lifestyle preferred by many halflings and for the animal husbandry that makes up a significant portion of Śetaig’s economy.

    Śetaig was originally settled by Aadipurans in the first two decades following the Torrent. When the halflings began to arrive, they slowly pushed the Aadipurans back from the coast and, in 60 AT, founded the great port metropolis from which the region takes its name. The next thirty years saw intermittent fighting between the halflings and the Aadipurans vying for control of Śetaig’s plains.

    In 90 AT, exhausted from their ongoing two-front war with the halflings and the Gensche, the Aadipurans sued for peace. The three groups signed the Treaty of Home and formally established the boundary between Śetaig and Aadipura, leading to a prolonged period of peace between the two groups.

    While its two major cities have substantial permanent populations, just over half of Śetaig’s population lives permanently in transit in small bands consisting of a few families each. They crisscross the grasslands following their herds or trade routes and discovering new wonders each day.

    Industries
    Halflings in large numbers are consumed by wanderlust and curiosity. With much of its population on the move and dependent on beasts of burdens, the halflings have become the dominant force in Stha Lui’s overland trade. Commerce and transportation have become the mainstays of Śetaig’s economy. Away from the River, the halflings are unchallenged in transit trade. Their routes are faster and better maintained, their pack animals and caravans are well-bred and reliable, and their vast network of caravanserais is often the only option for travelers moving through the Hinterlands. You can even find halfling caravanserais in Aadipura, Genzland, and on the fringes of the Fádech Desert.

    Halflings of all stripes rely heavily on pack animals for transportation. Their horses, which they export in limited quantities for high prices, are some of the finest in Stha Lui. They especially thrive as beasts of burden rather than mounts. Almost all of the semi-nomadic halfling communities that crisscross Śetaig are involved in animal husbandry to some extent.

    Finally, the more settled halfling city of Śetaig is a major center for scrounger crews. It is also one of the few newcomer towns where go-stone technology is readily available. Halfling smiths can usually be relied on to produce high-quality copies of established designs and halfling ingenuity has, in some circumstances, improved upon tested dwarven machines. Often, however, halfling tweaks are inconsequential at best and disastrous at worst.

    Government and Politics
    Śetaig is governed, not from its large port metropolis, but from a semi-permanent city known as Targaidh, located near Śetaig’s northernmost border. A small core of permanent structures remains at Targaidh while the rest of the city is composed of tents, huts and caravans brought by wandering halfling groups. The city’s permanent population is small compared to urban centers like Home but it swells into the millions at least once a year when all halflings who are able descend on Targaidh for a massive gathering, celebration and market.

    Targaidh is home to Śetaig’s government; an elected council of representatives from major trading companies and large halfling family confederacies. The council’s direct control is limited to the immediate environs of the cities of Targaidh and Śetaig while their control over the less-populated lands is intentionally slight. In times of war or trouble, however, halflings swarm back to Targaidh to join together for mutual defense or assistance.

    Consumed by trade and travel, halflings in general have good relations with other newcomers. Their networks are an important part of Stha Lui’s economic life. They maintain fairly close contact with their brethren in the Fádech Desert and with the sea dwarves. Their relationship with Aadipura is more strained as halflings and Aadipurans compete for dominance of some of the same trade routes.


    Shokhestan

    Capital: Shokhan
    Population: 8,500,000 (85% Shokhanids, 11% deep dwarves, 4% other)
    Government: Nominal tribal monarchy, most often an effective theocracy
    Major Industries: logging and wood products, agriculture
    Languages: Shokhani

    Spoiler
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    The lush, undulating homeland of the Shokhanids is isolated from the rest of Stha Lui by the towering peaks of the Mountains. Situated in the rolling hills that form the Mountains’ eastern flank, Shokhestan is inundated annually by mountain snowmelt and frequent rainfall as clouds are forced upward by the Mountains’ peaks and pour their moisture onto the eastern slopes. Shokhestan’s forests and terraces are verdant, beautiful, and productive.

    Shokhestan’s population is concentrated in the steep foothills where the Shokhanids and the deep dwarves have constructed beautiful terraced cities that hug the slopes and look out over the green valleys. Fortresses and places of worship rise from the tops of even higher hills as row after row of houses balance perilously close to steep drops and fields of talus, supported by deep dwarven engineering and Shokhanid magic.

    The area that is now Shokhestan was once controlled solely by the deep dwarves; a rural and bucolic backwater serving as their lowland breadbasket. With the arrival of the newcomers and the landborn’s eastward retreat, however, the deep dwarves pulled back into their mountain halls and encouraged their Shokhanid allies to settle in the terraced fields and temperate rainforests. The population of Shokhestan has increased drastically, fed by fertile soil, abundant moisture, and the application of Shokhanid magic to the practice of agriculture.

    Industries
    With everything west of the Mountains closed to them, the landborn rely almost solely on Shokhestan’s agricultural produce. They Shokhanids have adapted their traditional qanat-based irrigation systems to controlling and channeling mountain runoff into low-land fields. This allows them to largely prevent disastrous spring floods and ensure regular water supplies for lowland crops. The are especially adept at wet rice cultivation, using elegant walled terraces to maximize the available space and ensure abundant harvests. They have also developed a number of strains of tubers and vegetables that thrive in moist environments, growing rice and other vegetables in the same terraces to avoid resource depletion and add variety to their diets. In the coastal lowlands, the Shokhanids grow wheat and other grains alongside rice and harvest fish from the schools that live just off shore. At higher elevations, the Shokhanids engage in animal husbandry, rearing poultry, hardy mountain sheep, and goats to provide meat, milk, and eggs.

    That land which is not devoted to agriculture remains a carefully-groomed temperate deciduous rainforest. Shokhestan is the only source of timber to which the landborn have regular access, making it a precious resource. While it employs fewer people than agriculture, logging and woodworking constitute a sizeable portion of the Shokhanid economy.

    Government and Politics
    Shokhestan is nominally ruled by a hereditary tribal monarch, the head of the most powerful of the tribes of the Shokhanids, known as the “Mirza-ye Qajan.” With so much of their attention focused on keeping the newcomers out or attempting to drive them back, the Shokhanids are relatively united. Overt threats to the power of a sitting Mirza are few.

    However, while most Murzaat are relatively secure on their thrones, ascending to the position is often the culmination of a difficult and bloody succession struggle. This is particularly true when the previous Mirza left behind several sons. In these cases, the Shokhanids’ lack of clear succession laws proves to be a weakness, as rival sons often attempt to claim the throne through military confrontations or political intrigues that tear the Shokhanid polity, particularly its land-owning military elites, apart.

    However, the Shokhanid religious establishment is extremely powerful and influential. Often, with the power of the Mirza overwhelmed by priestly power, the king is merely a figurehead, controlled almost completely by the clergy. The leader of Shokhestan’s priestly community is groomed for power and is often the actual ruler of Shokhestan.

    The Shokhanids and the deep dwarves maintain a close alliance, aimed mostly at combating the newcomers. While their populations are inadequate to drive the newcomers from Stha Lui completely, both Shokhanids and deep dwarves are constantly seeking to return to the homes from which they were driven in the years following the Torrent.


    Tanu ya Nzadi

    Capital: Mbazana
    Population: 400,000 (99% elves, 1% other)
    Government: Tribal
    Major Industries: Raiding, logging, subsistence agriculture
    Languages: Elven

    Spoiler
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    Long thought to be an impenetrable, uninhabitable swampland, Tanu ya Nzadi was the last-settled area of Stha Lui. The elves, arriving 20 years after all the other races and finding a continent full of established and partially-established kingdoms, settled in Tanu ya Nzadi and quickly adapted to the requirements for survival in the dense marshlands and river deltas.

    The elves of Stha Lui are xenophobic and defensive by nature. Tanu ya Nzadi’s remote location and difficult terrain suited them. They used powerful magic to establish villages and towns and soon learned their way through the marshes. As they established themselves, they pushed out against the neighboring Shokhanid and Gensche polities, eventually taking control of territories to the east and west of their swampy home. These borders continue to shift as power ebbs and flows, the Shokhanids and Gensche continue to contest elven advances, and the elves raid and pillage across their borders.

    The heart of Tanu ya Nzadi is a near-trackless swamp between northernmost peaks of the Mountains and the forests and hills of Genzland. The marshes are crossed frequently by small, swift-flowing rivers and dotted with lakes and ponds. The elves live in small villages reliant on boats, boardwalks, and plant life for stability. Their capital city, Mbazana, is a maze of boardwalks and houseboats stretching out onto the lake that marks the southeastern border of Tanu ya Nzadi.

    Industries
    Tanu ya Nzadi is a hostile environment. Most of the economic activity of the region is at the subsistence level, including agriculture, fishing, hunting, and gathering. Marsh crops like wild rice predominate and fishing and eel catching are common. Some elves also harvest and export limited quantities of wood, though the swamp trees are too small and seldom prevalent enough to make timber a major industry.

    If anything, raiding can be said to be the main industry of Tanu ya Nzadi. The elves’ tribal social structures make for efficient and easily-formed raiding parties and their hardiness, martial skill, and proficiency with magic help them move quickly and strike hard. They supplement much of their income with plunder taken from raids in the Hinterland, Shokhestan, and Genzland. They even raid occasionally in the Fádech Desert, where halfling and elven tribal armies are fairly evenly matched.

    Government and Politics
    The elves of Tanu ya Nzadi maintain a tribal social and political structure; a holdover from their pre-Torrent society. Each elven village consists of several extended family groups which owe allegiance to a village leader; usually a senior member of the most prominent family. Villages in turn owe allegiance to a more powerful tribal chief who may have authority (to varying degrees, depending on the villages and leaders in question) over a number of nearby villages.

    Finally, at least in theory, these tribal chieftains are loyal to the elven High Chief who “governs” Tanu ya Nzadi from Mbazana. In practice, however, the High Chief’s power and control is always dependent upon his personal charisma, his military skill and strength, and the political expediencies of the moment.

    Just as raiding forms a major portion of the elven economy, it also plays a significant role in the governance of Tanu ya Nzadi. One of the principal methods the elven High Chiefs use to ensure the allegiance of their subordinates is through the distribution of plunder taken in raids. Distributing the plunder ensures, at least in theory, that local chieftains will look to the High Chief for wealth. It also ensures that local leaders continually compete against each other for power, favor, and patronage.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-04-15 at 09:13 AM.
    The Scroungers Campaign Setting
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  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Default [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Setting

    Organizations

    Aadipura Mahasaangya Dabha

    Spoiler
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    The River runs from the foothills of the Mountains to the western shores of Stha Lui, passing through or near Aadipura, the Fádech Desert, Genzland, the Hinterlands, the Home Territory, and Śetaig. It provides precious water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and irrigation. It is also the single largest channel for the passage of goods and people from the Mountains to the coast and everywhere in between.

    Much of this vast volume of commerce relies on the services Aadipura Mahasaangya Dabha. A consortium of wealthy and powerful traders and shippers, the Dabha operates a huge fleet of massive river barges and charges premium prices to move goods and passengers up and down the River. It also operates small port settlements at strategic locations, ensuring that travelers and merchants, for a price, have access to food and shelter, storage and trade.

    The Dabha is ruthless in protecting its monopoly on river transport even outside the lands controlled by Aadipurans. Small vessels ply the River frequently and fairly independently, but boats of any significant size must carry Dabha authorizations or face boarding and confiscation. The Dabha is almost omnipresent, their fleet of ponderous barges augmented by smaller, quicker vessels ideal for chasing down and boarding ships that violate their rules.

    The Dabha (and the city of Dekhi, which the Dabha controls) is governed by a council of powerful merchants. Corruption, infighting, and back-room dealing are ubiquitous on the council, as newly-wealthy traders try to crack into its ranks and the old, established powers seek to maintain their positions.

    The Aadipura Mahasaangya Dabha and House Llynydh are natural rivals for control of inland trade. At the moment, they exist in an uneasy truce, content to shore up their dominance in their respective domains rather than waste resources competing with each other. This balance is unlikely to last.


    House Llynydh (“Lin-edh”)

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    The rolling prairies, farms, and ranches of the Hinterlands, Stha Lui’s breadbaskets, are connected to the crowded coastal cities by a vast series of dirt roads and overland trade networks. Created more by repeated travel than by anyone’s plan, these networks, traveled by heavily-loaded caravans, have become crucial to Stha Lui’s commerce and transportation.

    In order to facilitate these connections (and make a hefty profit in the process), the halflings of House Llynydh operate a vast network of caravanserais. These caravanserais are strategically located approximately one to two day’s travel apart, especially at the outskirts of towns and near the intersections of trading networks. They provide food and lodging for caravans and travelers, forums where merchants can meet and trade, and public spaces for music, conversation, and the exchange of news. Travelers can get a bunk in the common room for a few stone pieces, a private room for a few silver, and a hot meal or a cold drink for a few glass. Merchants can get fodder and stabling for their pack animals and safe storage space for their goods. Bards and traveling entertainment troupes move from caravanserai to caravanserai, entertaining the locals and playing for their suppers.

    In addition to the physical infrastructure provided by House Llynydh’s network of caravanserais, the connections between caravanserai managers across the continent facilitate a system of banking and finance. Instead of carrying large quantities of heavy coinage, merchants and travelers can convert their cash into notes of debit and credit, which can be exchanged in the place of coins. This type of system is only possible because of close communication and strong connections between members of House Llynydh.

    House Llynydh is not the only group operating inns and caravanserais, though theirs are often the largest and most successful in a given area. In some places, particularly near major cities like Home and Dekhi, the volume of trade demands multiple caravanserais, often operated by several different groups and individuals. In these places, most caravanserai owners cooperate fairly well with each other, knowing that frequent trade and travel provide more than enough customers for all. In other places, House Llynydh has been ruthless in defeating competition from other caravanserais.


    The Strangers in the Dark

    Spoiler
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    The secretive organization known as the Strangers in the Dark is a group of assassins, thieves, and criminals that has spread throughout Stha Lui in the years following the Torrent. Almost all of Stha Lui’s major cities are home to a chapter of the Strangers in the Dark. Each chapter operates more-or-less independently to increase its power, prosperity, and security.

    The Strangers in the Dark is a relic of pre-Torrent tiefling organized crime syndicates. These in turn grew out of opportunistic alliances for mutual security in societies that spurned and persecuted tieflings for their supposed inherent evil. Powerful members of these syndicates who survived the Torrent brought their culture of organized crime to Stha Lui, establishing small chapters wherever they landed. These chapters grew along with the tiefling population though most tieflings are not involved in the organization. Most chapters expanded to incorporate non-tieflings, who swelled the Strangers in the Dark’s ranks and brought power beyond the scope of Stha Lui’s limited tiefling population (though tieflings remain in control of all chapters).

    Despite sharing certain identifiers and methodologies, the various chapters of the Strangers in the Dark do not necessarily follow the same course. Indeed, they often work against each other, particularly in cities like Dekhi, Targaidh, and Home where trade and migration bring the interests of multiple chapters into conflict. These conflicts can lead to bitter battles of subterfuge and assassination for control of key cities. The chapters do, however, recognize that they have certain common interests and have been known to ally against common enemies.

    Many of the most powerful members of the Strangers in the Dark, particularly its tiefling members and members capable of spellcasting, learn unique techniques to manipulate magical darkness. These elite members become Knives in the Dark, Screams in the Dark, Swords in the Dark, or Voices in the Dark. Their uncanny skills at infiltration and assassination, combined with their unsettling affinity for impenetrable darkness, are feared throughout Stha Lui. At least, feared by those who know of their existence.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2011-08-19 at 02:56 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    This is a campaign setting I've been working on for quite a while now. I created it to accomplish three major goals: (1) To be a place in which most (if not all) of my homebrew creations could find a home and be incorporated into the fabric of a campaign setting. (2) To potentially incorporate any type of d20 3.5 game content elegantly and simply via the island-hopping campaign type or the existence of distant islands as a source for new content. (3) To support a style of gaming that encourages resourcefulness with limited resources while maintaining crucial elements of high fantasy.

    I hope I have succeeded, or at least that I'm headed in the right direction.

    I welcome any comments or constructive criticisms. While the setting is nearing completion, it is by no means finished or set in stone. I will be making changes and additions in the future, which I'll be noting here.

    Also note that the mechanical aspects of the setting have been posted over on the Homebrew form and linked here, hopefully in keeping with the guidelines established by the forum management.

    I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say! Have at it!

    Scroungers Setting Change Log

    • 8-19-2011 - Initial posting (fluff and crunch), crunch/fluff links
    • 9-10-2011 - Updated Character Creation (language) and Speak Language sections to reflect wider role for Trade Pidgin, added Life in the World of Stha Lui section on regional politics and language
    • 11-18-2011 - Updated Races and The Lands of Stha Lui, Yu Quan replaced with Shokhanids, maps updated with new place names
    • 3-5-2013 - Added information about life stages and expectancies to the Life in the World of Scroungers section, minor grammatical corrections and clarifications to various things, improved Refined Focus feat, added more physical descriptions to races write-up, added vital racial statistics
    • 3-6-2013 - Added economics information to Life in the World of Scroungers section
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-03-06 at 08:51 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Two things:

    1. I like how you have used real world pictures and drawings in your descriptions, but it is kind of weird when you see tugboats or cars in some of them.

    2. When you described the "melting pot" I imagined no borders, but overpopulated cities doting the coast, consisting of all sorts of ethnicity. Just a thought.
    This is the part, where you fall down and BLEED to death!

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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Thanks for your comments!

    Quote Originally Posted by never_shades View Post
    1. I like how you have used real world pictures and drawings in your descriptions, but it is kind of weird when you see tugboats or cars in some of them.
    Hmm. I guess I didn't notice the tugboat in the Shathadva Islands picture. I'd noticed the rickshaws in the Home picture, but couldn't find a similar photo that didn't have them. Unfortunately, I'm not much of an artist so have to work with already-existing photos. I'm not too worried about it since the picture is just to give a general feel of the place and spice up the post. If it helps with the tugboat, though, there's a description of a sail-less ship engine run on go-stone over in the crunch thread. A ship with a go-stone engine could conceivably look like a tugboat.

    Quote Originally Posted by never_shades View Post
    2. When you described the "melting pot" I imagined no borders, but overpopulated cities doting the coast, consisting of all sorts of ethnicity. Just a thought.
    I agree to an extent. And the cities of the coast are melting pots, especially Home. That said, "melting pot" doesn't necessarily mean no borders whatsoever. Groups of people sharing similar cultural and (especially) linguistic backgrounds tend to group together in new lands. In this context, with ever-present risk of violent conflict, that has resulted in distinct areas of control with significant minority populations in places like Aadipura, Home, and Setaig. I should probably clarify, though, that these "borders" are very very fluid. They're more like spheres of influence than actual political boundaries.

    Part of the problem is probably that I haven't finished totally fleshing out the details of the different regions. I've been putting it off since it will mean a lot of writing...

    Thanks again!
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    I love this setting! Do you know if there are any games in the works for it? Being on a scroungers crew would be epic.
    That being said, there is something that erks me. In most settings, the idea of a Common language is stupid. Why would a pseudo-medieval world have such a language? But in this world, a common Creole forming seems inevidable, especially over 600 years of occupation, and with especially integrated areas like Home. Look at areas of the Carribean, where native people, French, Spanish and English speakers lived in close proximity to each other for generations. The first generation adults made simple pidgins, but when you got small second-generation children growing up with different language backgrounds, they made a Creole, a language that was a mixture of all the ones I just mentioned, that nevertheless was a fully-fledged language in its own right. It severely stretches my suspension of disbelief that Stha Lui wouldn't have a common language by now, after 600 years, which is much more than one generation, even for the longest lived races. It's at least 5 elven generations, and about 24 human ones!
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    I love this setting! Do you know if there are any games in the works for it? Being on a scroungers crew would be epic.
    Thanks a lot! I'm glad you like the setting. Other than a playtesting campaign I'm running over on MythWeavers (full, I'm afraid), I don't think anyone's running any Scroungers games. People are welcome to do so, however; it's one of the reasons I posted it to the boards. If you find one or start to run one, let me know!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    That being said, there is something that erks me. In most settings, the idea of a Common language is stupid. Why would a pseudo-medieval world have such a language? But in this world, a common Creole forming seems inevidable, especially over 600 years of occupation, and with especially integrated areas like Home. Look at areas of the Carribean, where native people, French, Spanish and English speakers lived in close proximity to each other for generations. The first generation adults made simple pidgins, but when you got small second-generation children growing up with different language backgrounds, they made a Creole, a language that was a mixture of all the ones I just mentioned, that nevertheless was a fully-fledged language in its own right. It severely stretches my suspension of disbelief that Stha Lui wouldn't have a common language by now, after 600 years, which is much more than one generation, even for the longest lived races. It's at least 5 elven generations, and about 24 human ones!
    I definitely see where you're coming from. Trade Pidgin is of course an option for everyone, and can be used for a lot of things associated with economics. Plus, the Natural Linguist regional feat provides an option for characters from Home to expand their linguistic skills. That said, it's not even close to the type of Creole you're describing. There's still some socio-political stuff I need to write which will, hopefully, address your verisimilitude concerns which I actually share to an extent. Here's a brief synopsis.

    To give a real-world analogy to match yours, the idea I'm going for in terms of linguistic identity is more like India than the Caribbean. In India, linguistic politics has resulted in very strong linkages between language and national identity which has, to some extent, prevented the development of a real Creole. English serves this role to a large extent, but that's a separate issue.

    Unlike the Caribbean, where populations of outsiders were relatively small, gradually-developed, and, in many cases, intentionally displaced from their normal cultural and linguistic context, Stha Lui was settled by fairly culturally-coherent groups of outsiders in moderately large numbers. It was also settled by outsiders at more-or-less the same time. So, instead of relatively small cultural groups arriving gradually and mixing with other, similarly-sized groups from different cultures, Stha Lui saw a fairly large group of Aadipurans (for example) arriving at more-or-less the same time followed by fairly large groups of Gensche, halflings, and the rest. Instead of mixing and assimilating with already-existing cultural groups, these newcomers strove to maintain their language and traditions, forming somewhat malleable but nonetheless very real "ethnic enclaves" (for lack of a better term of the top of my head) with strong socio-linguistic identities. Language was a primary vehicle for the preservation of their ancient cultures (of course exaggerated in legend and song) and uniting them against constantly-arriving "others."

    Thus, elites among the landborn and newcomers, by-and-large, worked actively to promote linguistic identities and discourage Creole formations. Resource and space shortages encourage a sort of hostile interdependence that prevents truly significant open conflict, but these tensions, especially linguistic, simmer just under the surface veneer of trade and cooperation. Plus, each cultural group, in addition to dominating (again, more-or-less) its own ethnic region, also includes substantial minority communities in neighboring enclaves, where their linguistic identity is more threatened by the dominant language of the region. This reinforces the importance of language as a source of political cleavage.

    Unfortunately, the board's prohibition of discussion of real-world politics prevents me from elaborating on my real-world analogy, but suffice to say, it outlines a situation in which large numbers of languages exist in close proximity and linguistic politics has resulted in the maintenance of separate linguistic identities with limited Creole formation.

    All that said, you're right in saying that some language would probably step in to fill this void. I think I'll elaborate a bit on linguistic politics when I finally get motivated. I'll also add something to the character creation section about DMs potentially allowing players to select Trade Pidgin and two additional languages at creation, instead of just one. This would mimic the sort of polyglot culture that India has, in many cases, developed.

    I hope that clarifies things. Like I said, there's still stuff I need to write...
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    It does, but still wouldn't Home have it's own language, being the extremely integrated and accepting place it is. Maybe the Creole exists, but only as the native language of Home, so it's widely spoken there, but only a few elite, cosmopolitian-minded citizens speak it otherwhere, kind of like English in India. So, it is a full-fledged language used for trade, but nowhere near approaching the widespread "every human peasant speaks this language" nature of Common in Generic D&D World.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Another option is merely to make an intelligence check to speak and understand what another person is saying if they are trying to converse in trade pidgin, with the complexity of the idea to be expressed as well as distance geographically between homes increasing the DC. Or it could be its own language, although to balance it I'd make it cost more skill points to learn other languages (something I think should have been in the rules anyways).
    I have returned, and plan on focusing on world-building. Issues are being dealt with.

    Quote Originally Posted by MesiDoomstalker View Post
    Thread won! I don't think I have the authority to do that but whatever

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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Life in the World of Scroungers

    Standard of Living and Life Expectancy

    Life in Stha Lui is difficult and, for all but the most wealthy, often short. Foodstuffs are often in short supply; anything other than the most basic staples can be extremely expensive. Healing, magical or otherwise, is similarly costly and available only to select groups. Most people work long hours in difficult conditions to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads.

    For these reasons, malnutrition and disease are the most common causes of death. Even when a family has access to adequate food to meet their calorie needs, the bulk of most peoples' diets is composed of basic staples; rice, tubers, and similar foods. Many fruits, vegetables, and meat products are beyond the scope of daily diet for many people, leading to nutrient deficiencies and diet-related illnesses even where starvation is not an immediate problem.

    Disease is another major problem. Crowded conditions, poor hygiene, and lack of access to healing contribute to the spread of even innocuous diseases. Drinking water that is often contaminated with waste products exacerbates health problems, especially in the crowded cities of Stha Lui's western coast. Even simple wounds are often left untreated, leading to death or disability from infection. Magical healing could alleviate this problem, but the costs associated are prohibitively high for many families and there are casters who can cast multiple Remove Disease spells per day.

    As with everything else in Stha Lui, living conditions vary by region. The large newcomer cities are the worst. Their slums often stretch for miles, facilities are overwhelmed, and life expectancies are very short. On the other hand, life expectancies are longer in places like the Śathadva Islands and parts of Shokhestan, where crowding is lower and access to varied diets less restricted.

    Stages of Life

    The myriad challenges posed by life in Stha Lui have disrupted traditional aging and family paradigms in many cultural groups. In many families, the fine line between life and starvation requires that each member contribute to the best of their abilities.

    In order to facilitate division of labor and responsibility, extended families throughout Stha Lui have increasingly adopted a concept known as Jhisa Drishti. Originally a feature of vanar and Aadipuran culture, Jhisa Drishti is a delineation of an individual's role in the family and society. As most commonly-implemented, the Jhisa Drishti system divides an individual's life into four stages.

    The first stage, which lasts begins around a child's eighth year and lasts until his late teens, is known as Vithaalah. This is a stage of learning, where the individual prepares himself for later life through study. Traditionally, much of this study is of a philosophical, theological, or historical nature. The student would remove himself from worldly society, take up a life of moderate asceticism, and enter into the service of a teacher, working to provide for the teacher's basic needs in exchange for access to his teachings. While this model predominates, the topics of instruction are increasingly practical; vocational training, apprenticeships, magical instruction, or military training. Indeed, many of Stha Lui's predominant combat schools operate under this framework.

    The second stage, which begins upon conclusion of the Vithaalah stage and lasts most of an individual's life, is the Grihaalah, or householder stage. In this stage, the individual re-enters worldly society and works to support his extended family. Individuals in the Grihaalah stage often provide for their parents and in-laws, resulting in large extended families all living under one roof. In many cases, multiple Grihaalis from the same family may combine forces to ensure adequate income to support their many dependents.

    The third stage is known as Budhaalah. Individuals in the Budhaalah stage are too old to participate in the rigors of daily labor. Their role shifts to looking after the needs of the home while the family Grihaalis are earning a living. Cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children often fall under a Budhaali's responsibility, freeing younger and more vigorous members of the family for economically-productive labor.

    The final stage, Shramaalah, begins if an individual gets too old and infirm to fulfill their responsibilities as a Budhaali. In this stage, the individual retreats from the world once again, beginning a life of asceticism and contemplation that lasts until their death.

    Cash and Currency

    The precious and semi-precious metals normally used for currency are in scarce supply on Stha Lui and can usually be put to better use. As a result, more common and easily-obtainable materials are frequently used as coinage. The following table outlines the units of currency used on Stha Lui.

    {table=head]Coin|Relative Value
    Glass|--
    Stone|10 glass
    Silver|10 stone
    Gold|10 silver
    Platinum|10 gold[/table]

    The average lower-class laborer or subsistence farmer makes approximately 50 gold pieces in one year, or the equivalent of around 10 silver pieces per week. In most cases, however, this wealth comes in non-currency forms (foodstuffs, essential equipment, seed and fertilizer, etc) or smaller denominations of coin.

    In addition, organizations like the Aadipura Mahasaangya Dabha and House Llynydh operate rudimentary banking systems, allowing patrons to exchange their hard currency for reed-paper notes granted value by the organization. This provides patrons with safer storage of wealth and easier transportation (as they can exchange the notes for currency in most places where the organization has a presence) while helping the organization maintain stocks of cash and provide loans.

    The Economics of Scarcity

    Sharply-limited resources and growing populations have made certain commodities more valuable in Stha Lui than they would be elsewhere. Foodstuffs and building materials (especially wood) are the most obvious examples of commodities whose value has increased due to scarcity, but there are others as well. These commodities, as well as the effect scarcity has on their value, are outlined in the following table. DMs should feel free to modify these guidelines as their campaign dictates, as well as make adjustments for different locations. Lumber, for example, is expensive everywhere but not quite so costly in Genzland or Shokhestan.

    {table=head]Commodity|Cost Adjustment
    Alchemical materials|+20% - 30%
    Arcane materials|+20% - 30%
    Foodstuffs (basic)|+10%
    Foodstuffs (exotic)|+30% - 40%
    Furniture|+30% - 50%
    Lumber|+50% - 60%
    Meat (land-based)|+30% - 40%
    Spices|+40%[/table]

    In addition to its effect on prices, scarcity of certain commodities has resulted in the adoption of alternatives crafted from more readily-available materials or more easily-exploited sources. Because of the prevalence of seafaring and maritime trade, many of these alternatives come from oceanic and aquatic. These new materials and the materials they replace are outlined in the following table. DMs should feel free to add to or modify this list as their campaign dictates.

    {table=head]Material|Replaces...
    Coral|Stone and wood in construction of buildings, furniture and other durable goods, and (to some extent) vehicles
    Reed-based papyrus|Paper, parchment
    Mud brick|Stone in construction of buildings, especially in heavily-populated areas like Home
    Mushrooms and other fungi|Tubers and other vegetables in areas like the Mountains where space for conventional agriculture is limited
    Fish, shellfish, and other aquatic foods|Most other types of meat in almost every part of Stha Lui except the Hinterlands and Śetaig
    Seaweed|Conventional edible greens in coastal areas like Qileka and Aadipura[/table]

    Regional Politics

    The arrival of newcomer groups and the displacement of the landborn largely took place within the span of the first several post-Torrent generations. The newcomers, having spent several years (and in some cases, several generations) eking out a mean existence at sea, arrived in sizeable groups and quickly established themselves in enclaves on Stha Lui’s western coast. These en masse arrivals prevented the formation of a true “melting pot” society and resulted instead in the establishment of the regional power groups outlined below.

    The regions are not, however, kingdoms or countries in the conventional sense. Those that rule usually do so from a major city and often (depending on the strength, energy, and skill of a particular ruler or group of elites) have little true power beyond that city and its environs. They may make and enforce laws, but their writ and their relevance decreases substantially the farther one is from their base of power. Networks of patronage, alliances with local elites, military or law enforcement expeditions, and advanced bases are all used to establish a pretense of power, but their efficacy is often fleeting.

    As such, the borders of these regional polities are rarely rigid. Maps of Stha Lui, when they attempt to delineate regional boundaries, show little more than loose spheres of influence, which are almost immediately obsolete. And while they may indicate the dominance of a particular racial or cultural group, they are seldom able to show the complexity of the demographic makeup of any given region.

    Language

    One of the few near-universal characteristics of the peoples of Stha Lui is a strong sense of nostalgia; a yearning for imagined golden ages drowned under miles of seawater. Members of every racial and cultural group, especially those elites with access to the resources and leisure time necessary to engage in academic pursuits, preserve vast corpuses of folk stories, songs, legends, and histories. Some of these sources are more-or-less accurate, many are heavily exaggerated or outright fabrications.

    This focus on past glories, combined with the formation of racially- and culturally-based regional power blocs and the intense and threatening diversity of Stha Lui, has resulted in a heavy emphasis on language as a marker of regional identity.

    Stha Lui’s resource and space shortages encourage a sort of hostile interdependence that prevents truly significant open conflict between regional power groups, but serious tensions simmer just under the surface veneer of trade and cooperation. In these tensions, language serves as a primary vehicle for the preservation of their ancient cultures (of course exaggerated in legend and song) and unification against constantly-arriving "others." Thus, elites among the landborn and newcomers work actively to promote linguistic identities and language has become a major fault line for Stha Lui’s intra-regional politics.

    This has also counteracted (to some extent) the tendency of linguistically-diverse populations in confined areas to develop common Creole languages. Elites and ruling groups intentionally discourage these sorts of linguistic mixing as much as they can. Trade Pidgin has of course developed as a necessary outgrowth of economic interdependence, and Aadipuran is widely spoken along the western coastal cities even outside of Aadipura, but no truly comprehensive Creole language has yet developed. People who need to communicate across languages do so in Trade Pidgin or by learning other languages. Indeed, many who live in culturally- and racially-diverse parts of the continent speak at least the rudiments of three or more languages.

    Sidebar: Pronunciation in the Languages of Stha Lui
    Stha Lui’s linguistic diversity has resulted in a complex hodge-podge of different naming conventions and regional pronunciations. However, there are some pronunciation rules that hold true for most of Stha Lui’s languages.
    1. Vowels: “A” is generally pronounced as in the English “far,” with “aa” combinations resulting in a longer vowel sound. “I” is generally pronounced as in the English “feel,” though in Shokhani, Deep Dwarven, and Sea Dwarven, it can also be pronounced as in the English “fill.” “E” is generally pronounced as in the English “fen.”
    2. Unless used in the typical English “qu” combination, the letter “q” is generally pronounced like the Perso-Arabic ق. It sounds much like the English hard “k,” but pronounced gutterally, in the far back of the throat.
    3. The combination “kh” is usually pronounced like the Perso-Arabic خ, much like the German “ch” in words like “buch,” though somewhat harder and more gutterally. The typical English “k” sound is an acceptable substitute, and used extensively in regions like Genzbald and Śetaig. In some circumstances however, most notably in the name “Dekhi,” the “kh” combination is pronounced like an aspirated (i.e. extra air is expelled from the lungs during pronunciation) English “k.”
    4. The character “Ś” is pronounced like the typical English “sh” sound.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-03-22 at 07:00 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Thanks for all the comments!

    I made a few changes to the character creation section on languages and the Speak Language write-up to expand the role of Trade Pidgin and make it closer to a Creole. I still don't want it to be completely functional in every context, but I agree that it's role should be expanded beyond strict economics. I also added a "Life in the World of Scroungers" section which only talks about regional politics and language at the moment but will eventually have all sorts of information.

    I hope these changes address some of the things we've discussed. Let me know what you think.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    I know it's been quite a while since I've posted here, but I wasn't happy with the original religious system I had created for this setting and it's taken me until now to come up with a replacement that I like. But I have, and I've posted it in the place of the original religion write-up. I'd definitely appreciate people's thoughts, since I'm still not sure of everything. Thanks!
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    Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Interesting. Bookmarked for later perusal.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    I think I rather like how you have set up the religious structure. There is religious upheaval, as will happen when there is significant social and cultural upheaval due to the torrent, and there is conflict due to the interaction of the different ethnicities bringing their own religious ideals to their new home. I also like how you left room for DM's to create their own gods which allows flexibility, but laid down guidelines for how these gods fit into the greater cosmology.

    As for trade pidgin, I can see it also evolving due to a need to gossip and share information about major events. It probably can't express emotions, hopes, and such well, but it should be able to get facts about events and the status of things across without much effort.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    May I again float the idea of a Scrounger's setting campaign? I am absolutely in love with the setting, and would be thrilled to play a dark-eyed priest of the Unnamed uh, I mean Nameless Gods on a scrounging ship.
    EDIT: By the way, I really like the changes to the religious systems. It really has the feel and vibe of real-world religious systems, especially in areas where spirituality is a part of daily life.
    Last edited by The Anarresti; 2011-12-02 at 11:01 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    I have a question, about Control Weather: what replaces it as the 7th level air domain spell? I was also wondering, what was your reasoning behind making it accessible only as a ritual, when spells such as control wind and control water are not rituals.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Thanks or the input, everyone. I'm glad the new religious system is interesting to people. It's hard to evaluate these things from an outside perspective. I know what I want to say, but I can never tell whether I've expressed it adequately.

    I'd love to run a pbp, but really don't have the time that it would require to DM well. I'd happily play in a pbp if someone else wants to run it, though. Anyone who wants to use the setting is welcome to do so, whether it's for a game on the boards here or with their own gaming group.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Quote Originally Posted by The Anarresti View Post
    I have a question, about Control Weather: what replaces it as the 7th level air domain spell? I was also wondering, what was your reasoning behind making it accessible only as a ritual, when spells such as control wind and control water are not rituals.
    That is an excellent question; one which I hadn't considered. I think I'll replace it with Wind Walk.

    Control Weather has a significantly longer duration and wider area than either Control Wind or Control Water. It's the kind of spell that can alter the weather in a small region, whereas the other two are much more localized and short-term. It just feels more epic than the other two; the type of thing that would require a ritual rather than just a spell. It's also higher level. Rituals were a way for me to include higher-level spells without making them something every caster could rattle off multiple times per day. I originally was going to eliminate it completely, since I wanted the weather (and natural processes in general) to be more uncontrolled, but I thought it should at least remain an option, if a difficult one. Control Wind and Control Water couldn't ultimately have much of an effect on a major storm or cold snap, but Control Weather could.
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    Default Re: [3.5] Scarcity and Scavenging, Crowding and Conflict: The Scroungers Campaign Set

    Glossary of Scroungers Terminology

    Notes on Pidgin Grammar and Syntax
    The following are a few brief characteristics of the Pidgin used commonly for trade and basic communication throughout Stha Lui.

    • Indefinite articles (the English “a,” “an”) are commonly dropped, as is the article “the.” Terms for specific numbers or words like “that” and “this” are still used.

    Aadipuran

    • Bhadawal (plural: bhadawale) - God, used in multiple contexts to refer to gods in general
    • Eshwa – God, usually used by a devotee of one of the new gods to refer to her chosen deity, rarely used in the plural
    • Jhisa Drishti - A system for organizing the life of an individual into distinct phases
    • Mah’ – Great, usually added to the beginning of a proper noun
    • Saami – Lord, used in some contexts as an epithet appended to the name of a specific deity or to the name of a mortal spiritual leader or teacher
    • Dajhayat - A village council, usually composed of male elders and prominent merchants

    Gensche

    • Verformt – A Gensche insult used in the same way “altered” is used in Pidgin.

    General

    • Girls of Goodbye – A euphemistic term used in all of Stha Lui’s port cities to refer to the prostitutes, tavern wenches, and “good time girls” who frequent the seedy taverns on each city’s Goodbye Street.
    • Goodbye Street – The street that, in all of Stha Lui’s port cities, runs parallel and directly adjacent to the harbor. Goodbye Street is known for its dense concentration of ale houses, taverns, and brothels, its rowdy, boisterous atmosphere, and (usually) for its overwhelming seediness and disrepair.

    Shokhani

    • ‘Elim (plural: ‘elaat) – A religious scholar, prayer leader, or shahrid official of the Faithful
    • Majlis-e ‘Elaat-e Urkhaat – The high council of the ‘elaat; the primary religious governing body of the Faithful
    • Rukh (plural: urkhaat) – Lord, almost exclusively refers to the gods of the Faithful
    • Shahrid – Place of worship and prayer to the gods of the Faithful
    • Zehaan – The call to prayer that sounds before the four daily prayers of the Faithful. The zehaan, which starts off as an atonal drone and builds into a somber, lilting song marked by complicated harmonies between multiple ‘elaat, is usually sung from the top of the tallest minaret of the local shahrid, and is often magically amplified to allow it to be heard from great distances.
    So, I'm running a playtesting Scroungers campaign and have started compiling a list of the terminology used in the setting's various languages, both as a resource for my players and as an addition to add flavor to the setting materials. I plan on adding to it as the campaign progresses and new terms come up. If anyone has any suggestions for terms in English that might benefit from equivalents in Scroungers languages, feel free to make suggestions.
    Last edited by Mephibosheth; 2013-03-11 at 10:03 AM.
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