Friday, June 22, 2012

20 Questions- The Mistlands

What's the deal with my Cleric's religion?

A slight majority of Mistlanders are Celtic Christians, the rest are Celtic Pagans. The Christians are centered around monasteries, the Pagans have temples, shrines and holy wells & springs. Your Cleric's religion is probably based on what Clan he comes from, although there are some Pagan hold outs in Christian Clans and the occasional Pagan in a Christian Clan. The two religions get along better here than they ever did on Earth, probably due to the need to be allied against a common Evil foe. That doesn't necessarily mean they like each other, but there isn't any real hate either. It probably doesn't hurt that Celtic Christianity has a lot of Celtic Paganism left in it.

Where can I go to buy standard equipment?

That's tougher, this is a rough country, with no real cities to be found. If you find yourself in the Mistlands and you are not a native, you are probably screwed. If you are a native most stuff can only be gotten at your own Clan's villages or strongholds, or at those of allied Clans. Additionally, all of the weapons not made of wood are made of "Mistlander Steel" and cost twice as much as standard weapons. The mists "rot" normal steel in anything from a few days to a few weeks.

Where can I get custom platemail fitted for this monster I just befriended?

That's not going to happen. Mistlander steel is too hard to work and too expensive, it is mainly used for weapons, occasionally for armor for Clan Chiefs and War Chiefs or Heroes; but most Mistlanders fight wearing either no armor or just leather, everyone uses wooden shields, usually with a bronze boss, but, if they can afford them, with a Mistlander Steel boss as the most expensive part.

Who is the mightiest Wizard in the land?

Fíorcheann fiothnais nan clanna mac Mathghamhain, his studies into the arcane are legendary and he has protected the Mistlands from all manner of threats, from Giants to Humanoids to invasion from Garnia and Ming Liang. It is said he is over two hundred years old.

Who is the mightiest Warrior in the land?

Baothghalach Ó Dochartaigh, his personal prowess is impressive, but he is also a great leader of men; as a young warrior of the Ó Dochartaigh he took it upon himself to lead the other young men of his Clan in a cattle raid against the neighboring Mag Aonghusa Clan. Not only was the raid an astounding success, but in the battle that followed, he fought a rear guard action against the warriors of the Mag Aonghusa and slew both their War Chief and their Clan Chief's eldest son. He was fourteen years old and had only just begun weapons training. He is also a natural tactician. The war that followed had him leading his "Boys Troop" to victories in skirmish after skirmish, with few or no casualties. The Mag Aonghusa were utterly defeated and became tributary to the Ó Dochartaigh. Baothghalach has since traveled the Mistlands seeking out the best weapons masters and mastered their techniques; furthermore he has gathered followers from many Clans and has accepted broken men (Clanless) into his personal service. Furthermore, he seems to understand long term strategy. He has made great raids into both Garnia and Ming Liang successfully, and some say he is trying to become High King of the Mistlands, a position rarely held in it's history and rarely for very long or very successfully. Probably his greatest single achievement though, was destroying the nest of Baobhan Sidhe at Réimse na Ríthe.

Who is the richest person in the land?
Baothghalach Ó Dochartaigh although Mistlanders measure wealth a little differently than most countries do, they measure it in Cattle and Fighting Men and he is well ahead of most Clan Chiefs in either one or both. He also has the love of the people, because he shares the wealth of his raids rather than hoarding it, whether it's cattle, coin or jewels or other valuables, everyone, whether they're under his protection or not, as long as they're not an enemy, gets something from him when he passes by, and he has a great, and honest, network of distributors working under him. People under his protection receive coins and exotic goods from foreign lands and no on goes hungry.

Where can we go for some magical healing?

In this, you are lucky. The Mistlands has a plethora of magical springs, many of which have healing properties. Otherwise, every village has a Priest, either Pagan or Christian that might be able to help, depending on your status vis-a-vis their Clan. Monasteries will certainly have someone that can help, but are often reluctant to heal non-Christians, at least not without either a great contribution of some form of wealth or favor to the monastery or a conversion to Christianity. Most Clan Strongholds will have a Priest, again either Christian or Pagan, that will be able to heal you, but then you need to have the favor of the Clan. There are no Druidic colleges present in the Mistlands, the Pagan Priesthood either learn from their predecessor or leave to study elsewhere, usually at Dun Math on the Steppes, the oldest "Druidic" college in Garnia world.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: Poison, Disease, Curse, Level Drain, Lycanthropy, Polymorph, Alignment Change, Death, Undeath?

Pretty much the same answer as above, with a few exceptions. With Poison there might be an anti-venom that a local herbalist might know, and since Poison is a cowards way to kill a foe, it really doesn't matter what your status with the clan is, anyone will try and help, even an enemy; because he doesn't want to be blamed for the foul act. Alignment Change, no one is going to help you turn back to Evil if that's where you started. The only cure for Undeath is the True Death, may you rest in peace.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

No, nothing so organized here. If a child is recognized as having the potential, he or she will be taken on as an apprentice to a Master Wizard in the Clan.

Where can I find an Alchemist, Sage or other Expert NPC?

There are not a lot of them in the Mistlands, but the Monasteries keep good records and have some trained historians. Every Clan Stronghold will have at least one Seanchai. These are a largely non-literate people, so they remember everything through songs and poetry; it's also how they entertain themselves most nights. So, Sages, of a sort, kind of common, in a Bardic way, less common at the monasteries. Not many Alchemists to speak of, maybe among the great Wizards, but alchemy is really for richer, more developed lands. They don't have too many roads here. Other experts? Depends on what you're looking for. Plenty of herbalists and brewers and leather workers, not so many siege engineers.

Where can I hire Mercenaries?

That really depends, you can pick up broken men lurking about and form your own company, but if you are a foreigner, or not seen as strong enough, you'll probably face a mutiny eventually and discipline may be tough since some of these guys might have come from Clans that were feuding. What's worse with broken men is that they might have been cast out of their Clan for a reason, and not be broken because they have no kin. The other route to take is to boldly "Make an Alliance" with a Clan Chief, and use his army. This can backfire too, because they might not like following the orders of a foreigner, or the Chief might decide that too many of his men have been lost in your cause and just leave. Both the Garnians and the Ming Liang have used this tactic to keep the Mistlanders fighting amongst themselves for centuries, it cuts down on the raiding.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?

In the Mistlands every Clan is it's own Kingdom and so is every Monastery, so the rules vary from place to place, but in general it's considered poor manners to keep anything bigger than an eating knife on your person when you enter a private house. Hospitality means a lot here, if they let you in, you'll make it out alive. For centuries the Christians argued about the use of Magic, their own spells were clearly miracles from God, but Wizard's spells might be an Evil thing. Ultimately it was decided to follow the old Roman law and just condemn Maleficium (Magic used for Evil purpose), although some more conservative Priests and Monks still are uncertain about this decision.

Which way to the nearest Tavern?

This is a good news/bad news situation. Mostly, there aren't any taverns in the entire Mistlands, but pretty much every single village has an alehouse. This is literally someone's house where you can come in for some ale and it's usually cheap. Quality and welcome vary. The other thing about the Mistlands is that they are alone in all the lands of the Celts for having discovered distilling, so sometimes you can get Uisge Beatha (Whisky) which is usually expensive and mostly only available in Clan Strongholds. It is a key trade item for the Mistlands at their border trading posts, along with Cattle, Copper, Tin, Tartan Plaid Fabric and Wool. They also produce significant amounts of Silver, but prefer to keep it, and never trade Mistlander Steel.

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

There is always some odd hellish beast crawling up out of the great rift. Giants and their kin are all over the Northlands along with tribes of Humanoids that serve them. The mists themselves seem to call to all manner of Unseelie Sidhe, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes they set up to stay.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

Always. Mistlanders are a quarrelsome lot, and hold grudges for centuries.

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

Not so much Gladiatorial games, but Sword Fighting with Wooden Wasters, Bare-Knuckle Boxing, Wrestling, many different types of feats of strength, Archery and other martial contests take place at Clan gatherings where Glory and prizes can be won. Of course you can also win for song and poetry, or dancing if that's your thing. Drinking contests are popular too.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

It wouldn't be much of a secret if I went and told everyone on an open blog post, now would it? Seriously, this the kind of answer that I prefer to develop in actual play, rather than plan ahead and then maybe never use. That said, the only possible option I could think of would be smugglers moving Mistlander Steel out of the country.

What is there to eat around here?

That really depends on where you are and who you are, but beef, mutton, pork, chicken and all manner of wild game are on the menu, as are fresh water fish. Dairy products, they are a milk drinking, butter loving, cheese eating people. Oats, barley, rye, apples, plums, cabbages, onions, carrots, turnips, (potatoes), various herbs and seasonal greens. Think snout to tail, nothing wasted, cooking, mostly boiled in a pot or fried in a pan. Spit roasted food is an extravagance for the wealthy. Beef or game are the preferred foods of the warrior aristocracy.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

The Cave of Céadach Ó Baoighill is said to be full of gold and ancient Sidhe treasures. Céadach Ó Baoighill led his band of men to the nest of Unseelie Sidhe and destroyed them all, but the dying curse of the last one made them all forget the location of the cave, which had taken them the better part of a year to find when there were active Unseelie Sidhe operating out of it. Now, centuries later, it's a legend, just "Someplace in the eastern Mistlands".

Where is the nearest Dragon or other Monster with Type H treasure?

Sleeping in the Great Rift, waking the Dragon would be a fool's quest.

Bonus descriptor- these guys wear kilts made of Tartan Plaid although there is no universal Clan tartan for any Clan, it's pretty much whatever your wife or mother or grandmother weaves for you.

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