Friday, March 21, 2008

Fiendish Quartet #1

Inspired by a post at Jeff's Gameblog I've been riffing on several campaign kernels built mainly from the First Edition Fiend Folio, "tome of creatures malevolent and benign." Here's one:

A world where apes evolved from men? Not exactly, but the simian dakon are one of the many humanoid animals in the FF. What if these intelligent apes, and bird-men, and cat-people and other beastfolk were the major political and cultural powers in the world? Humans and demi-humans are mainly found in a few free states held by the dakon, a scholarly and mercantilist people ruled by a silverback wizard. It's rumored that he is not merely advised but also controlled by his phanaton familiar.

Still, the dakon lands are open to peoples of all sorts, and a measure of safety and prosperity can be had even for humans and their ilk. Elsewhere, peril. The deserts are ruled by the aarakocra, who range far from their cities of towering cacti to hunt on hot dry winds. The bird-men make much sport of tribes of nocturnal halflings, using trained achaierai to root them from their burrows, like pigs after truffles. The kenku are less savage, but long-lived and remote, keeping usually to mountain aeries and forest rookeries, mischievous and aloof in their dealings with other peoples.

Elsewhere, great trains of slaves are herded by the Shepherds of Iron, the dog-headed flinds and their truculent gnoll soldiers. Best not to speak of the slaves traded to the jungles where the tabaxi skulk; they are rumored to be as cruel as they are elusive. Likewise few win free of indenture to the crab men, for the building up and tearing down of their shell and coral cities is unceasing. Better by far to end up in the Squamic Fens at the center of the lizard men's empire. Though ruled by the savage caste of Lizard Kings, they are a people of long history and ancient knowledge. It is easy to die on the sands of their arenas, slain by babbler or bonesnapper or worse, but there is much glory for the victorious....

MP3: Robyn Hitchcock, The Shapes Between Us Turn Into Animals

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