With Sauria on the march and my Savage Worlds book out on lone, I was holding back on posting most of the Twist (you may remember that I posted the Racial Heritage rules from this setting a long while ago...)- my Savage Worlds Fantasy setting (www.deadlands.com for more Savage Worlds stuff). But with me contemplating just buying a new one (they are quite cheap) I deciced to start posting more Twist. For a start, heres the setting background!
About two, three hundred years ago- hard to say exactly now –the Twist came and it did that. Twisted everything right around. See, Tzshid, the god of madness, usurped the throne of Lohim- king-god of the world. And after that, well, the world went mad…
Oh Wicked Land!
The wastes that make up the world are not hospitable. In fact, those shifting psychic environs are what most folks call ‘toxic’. Walking on the surface, well if you die call yourself lucky. Most folks aren’t lucky… Instead of dying, they come back Twisted. Needless to say, no one with a sane brain walks anywhere or live anywhere exposed to the surface.
Bebin Stones are the foundation of current society, literally. Some clever Wizard named Bebin figured out how to manipulate the Twist, to drain it. Course it had to go somewhere. So rather than- proving that old Bebin was still sane –putting it in their self, Bebin created his stone. The Bebin Stones not only can absorb the Twist, they actively do so.
One of the key things a Bebin Stone is used for is just plain old getting about. See, lone Bebin Stone roughly the size of a fist might not do jack for a Bastion. It does, however, such up just enough Twist to make travel safe for one individual. Course, less you want to walk your mount needs one too… Some big trade guilds or nomad bands even carry larger, wagon mounted, Bebin Stones just for extra protection.
The Grand Dragon Trade Guild
One relatively safe means of getting about is with the Grand Dragon Trade Guild. Rather than taking tax from the merchant-Dragons hoards, the guild has been taxing their fire. Collected in special canisters, they use this fire to fuel a modest fleet of Sky-ships. Utilized to transport not only wares, but people and entertainments, from one Bastion to another- delivery isn’t just relatively assured, but it’s also relatively regular. Purchasing passage or space on such a transport is, naturally, extremely expensive.
Locked away behind strategically placed Bebin Stones, the Bastions represent islands of sanity and stability. The Bastions are the standard political division for these times; Island kingdoms harkening to no authority beyond their throne. Needless to say, things can get a bit incestuous within a Bastion.
Bastions of Note
The mighty city of Dundar might not be as grand today as it once was, but to a populace overflowing into the street and born of refugees, brigands, citizens and survivors its home. Dundar is big on two things; Chivalric ideals and pragmatic solutions. This generally means when times are good the knightly virtues of this Bastion are the guiding light of all major decisions. But the moment the shit hits, its swords drawn and quick, clean solutions sought.
Fortress, tomb, and greatest single bastion of Necromantic lore in the world. Since the Twist came about, however, the term ‘city’ has been added to this Baston’s list of titles. When Tzshid’s madness was sweeping the world Elazar’s resident Necromancers and the emerging Twister’s came together with the Clerics of Frog in establishing a number of Bebin stones in key locations around the Library. Today, each of the three factions are part of this Bastions ruling council. To avoid political tension, each has taken a quarter of the Bastion as their own, with the fourth as a free market quarter. Needless to say, this fourth quarter is where the tension overflows. Still, its rather novel how most of the violence isn’t over politics but funeral rights as Necromancers and Frog Clerics all have quite different ideas of the appropriate treatment of a corpse. Thus death follows death in Elazar’s Library.
Grand Dragon’s Hoard
Built on the wealth of the grandest Dragon Hoards of old, Grand Dragon’s Hoard is ruled by Dragon merchant-princes. While life there is more expensive than within other Bastions, the opulent wealth of the Dragon hoards flows down to the streets. This grants citizens of the Grand Dragon’s Hoard a stable and luxurious lifestyle than their peers elsewhere. Even the Dragon’s themselves have been changed by their wealth, having learnt that a gang of thugs sends the same message as a ball of fire with far less effort on ones own part.
From the outside, Sha’Ta-la looks as if it is a forest surrounded by a ring of Bebin Stones. It is! But inside that forest is a city- not amongst the trees. Nope, within them. For Sha’Ta-la calls itself the Elven Bastion, and all within must live as the Elf. Still, some would say Sha’Ta-la is drowning in Elven pride. It was the Elf Capital, back before the Twist and its Nobles pride themselves on the impeccable purity of their bloodlines. Such is the zeal which this purity is defended that everything from individual nobles to whole Houses have been exiled from the Bastion.
Those Sha’Ta-la Nobles, an the others like them, are living in a dream-world. See, long locked in the Bastions together, the unbroken racial heritages of the past have long since become a rarity as love was forced to ‘make do’ with what was available. The idea of a ‘pure’ race is by no means obsolete. Indeed, there are some such- like Sha’Ta-la -that cling to their racial purity like flies on dung. But the reality of it is a rarity at best.
What do you get when you mix three pits, each linked by a single doorway, put basic dungeon traps in the middle and a hole in the wall of the other two? You get Pit Ball- the Grand Dragon’s most profitable export! The rules are simple; games are two hours long, one ball, six players to a team, no weapons, no killing, but other than that fighting is fine. The middle pit is neutral, each team taking one of the far pits. The team that gets the ball in the opposite team’s goal-hole the most times wins.
Most large Bastions have their own Pit Ball Teams and participate in the League. The Grand Dragon owns the League and so to join, the Bastion must pay the Trade Guild an annual fee. This done, the Bastion pays again- this time to send their team to other Bastions on a sky-ship. While this may initially sound stupidly expensive, after the players and coach’s passage is payed for, a Pit Ball Team may bring along as much cargo as they the sky-ship may carry. This means that any Merchant, Noble or other person sponsoring a Pit Ball team within the League may move cargo safely and securely for free! Thus through the League, not only does the Grand Dragon scoop a tidy little profit, but both the home and away Bastions profit through the added economic stimulation.
The Big Boys
The largest and best funded teams come from are the Zomphibians (Elazar’s Libarary), the Lair Guard (Grand Dragon’s Hoard), the Pit-Knights (Dundar) and the three-year running champions; the True Bloods (Sha’Ta-la).
The Shadow League
Some folks aren’t content just to watch the brutal sport of Pit Ball played out. Some folks want blood and death in their game. Enter the Shadow League- in illegal, underground
Gods & Such
The Fine Lady and goddess of beauty and love, the consort of Arious is a little-hailed goddess these days. There is little beauty and love in the dark pragmatism which dominates the world today. For this reason, Alune is often worshipped in a pure duality with Arious, subordinate to the god.
God of walls, knights and Chivalry, Arious- and his consort, Alune -is patron not only the Bastion of Dundar, but hailed in the temple-places of most Bastions these days. Unlike Thurzaz, Arious is not merely a warriors god, but a god of all those under a warriors care. For this reason, he is seen as a great protector and avenger.
It’s debatable if Elazar- god of death -is a real god or not, as he shares his name with the first and greatest Necromancer. Still, the Cleric’s of Elazar work as the same as any other, so the debate is protracted. The chief centre of worship for the death-god is Elazar’s library.
The god/goddess of nature revered by the Elves, hermaphrodites and individuals of a gender bending disposition are said to be blessed by Faelf’Ert. In winter, when things are harsh, Faelf’Ert is a god. In summer when things are merry, this deity is a goddess. In the ‘between’ times of spring and autumn, Faelf’Ert is only as male as (s)he is female, though one slowly dominates the other as the season rolls on.
Frog is the god of well, frogs. Appearing to his devout in the form of a giant Frog, this deity is also the god of healing. See sickness is a ‘between’ state. It’s a transition and one can either die, going onto the the underworld, or get better, returning to a living state. Shifting between states and worlds- tadpole to frog, water to land –Frog is something of a gatekeeper between the lands of the living and the dead. In addition to Elazar, Frog is also hailed and revered by Necromancers for this very reason.
Once the creator god-king of the world; since his dethroning and death by Tzshid, Lohim has become the Screaming God of Necromancy. Subsequently, Lohim’s faithful have either started to place their faith somewhere else, or become members of the hated and hunted cult known as the Dead God’s Scream.
Goddess of the poetry and war, patron of warriors everywhere Thurzaz fights with a song in her heart. Thurzaz is something of a composite deity, though by scholars to be a composite of several deities, chiefly the old Orc poetry-god of Uraz.
Not much is known about the god of madness and new king of the gods. Mostly its either gobbly-gook or contradictory. He never had Clergy or a central order per say, but instead it was said all the insane worshipped Tzshid. Numerous small, unofficial cults, likewise, claimed to be his followers. These days many of these cults have taken on an apocalyptic bend and are hunted.