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08 April 2016 @ 01:07 pm
Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom: Ancient Civilizations  
I realized that the an important part of sword and sorcery is the rise and fall of civilizations, and while the Predecessor ruins all around the landscape do provide an evidence of society's fragility, and also means there's a hole in history between the time of the Predecessors and the time the game takes place. Exalted taught us the problem with having the ancient past, modern times, and basically nothing in between, so I want to fill that in a bit with some other groups. Here are three:

Arremer

The Kurokyura have not always been the rulers of Makai. Long ago, the people of Makai suffered from the tyranny of the arremer, who ruled the lands near the Cloudtop Mountains from their aeries. All rebellions against them failed because their strongholds were nearly inaccessible. Only a trained group of assassins could get in, and the peasants of Makai did not have that training.

Until the Kurokyura came. A group of vampires saw their opportunity and offered their assistance to the disparate rebel groups and martial monastic orders that had been attempting to resist the arremer's rule, and they were accepted. Their powers allowed them to scale the mountains, to penetrate the fortresses in the form of mist or rat or by bewitching the guards, and to kill the arremer rulers in their beds. The arremer were never numerous, and as the rebellion killed more and more of the overlords and the peasants openly rose up, most of them fled across the Cloudtop Mountains to the unknown western lands. The Kurokyura then settled into the abandoned aeries, rebuilding them to suit their image and creating modern Makai.

What became of the arremer beyond the mountains is unknown, but small communities of arremer sometimes live on the Cloud Kingdoms in western Agarica, surviving by raiding isolated villages or war with the pidget-folk. Their ability to breathe fire and wings make them superbly suited to this sort of raiding, and many people in the west look at any larger Cloud Kingdoms nervously and breathe a sigh of relief when they pass without incident.

Kani

In the south of the Kingdom of Flowers and west along the shores of the Narrow Sea toward the Great Bridge are occasional ruins, battered by wind and wave. The ruins look almost like they were grown out of the ground, with fantastic curves and whorls dominating their lines and opalescent colors shining through the grime of ages from the strangely-unbroken masonwork.

These were the cities of the kani, who lived in Agarica before there was a Kingdom of Flowers. They were amphibious, and their cities were always built partially on land and partially underwater to serve their dual natures. They kept mostly to themselves, having little contact with any of the surface peoples, thought there are stories that they maintained embassies with some of the civilizations of the ocean depths, like the half-mythical zora. They would sometimes raid nearby communities for food, though alternating it with trading fish from the sea and the works of their mysterious sorcerers, without any rhyme or reason.

The legends of the Kingdom tell that when the House of Wisteria first raised its banner and declared itself the royal house of the Kingdom of Flowers, their armies marched south to the sea and engaged the kani. The war was short but brutal, and though the Kingdom's legends speak only of the kani's atrocities, the scars left in the ruins and the trinkets made of kani-shell kept by some local communities tell all of the stories that the Kingdom's official history does not. The kani were not all killed, but their cities were destroyed and they were driven into the sea. The Kingdom suffered from kani raids for decades after the initial war, but the retaliation gradually petered out and now few shore-bound communities keep more than a token defense force.

Trow

In central Agarica, there are many round hills with entrances leading into underground structures, often ringed with partial pillars that stand unsupported and open to the sky. Beneath the earth, these hills expand into larger underground dwellings, carved out of living stone and supported with more pillars. These are the abandoned domains of the trow.

The trow flourished in their underground cities, farming on the surface and trading metalwork and precious gems for the crafts they could not make themselves. Their fame in blacksmithing was reknowned throughout Agarica, and many adventurers on their way to Etemenanki bought trow-forged weapons before heading into the tower, hoping to better their odds against the dangers they could find there. The trow carved fabulous murals on the entrances of their cities and the pillars that ringed them to demonstrate their wealth.

Then, one day, they vanished. Caravans found the doors of their cities closed and no trow answered their call. When explorers penetrated their cities, they found empty caverns, half-forged blades, tables set as though for a meal, and no sign of bodies or of battle. Questioning the spirits of the underground revealed little--the spirits were strangely reluctant to talk about it, with the most memorable statement spoken by an ancient and powerful meguroko: "They poisoned the soul of iron."

The ancient powers that keep Predecessor ruins mostly intact are absent among the trow ruins, and many of their caverns have collapsed on themselves. But occasionally an explorer will find an enchanted weapon or artificia among them, when they haven't become the home of dangerous creatures.
 
 
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