Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Fallen Empire Project

I started up a new project the other day, a regional series of small adventures set on the Northern Border of my Fallen Empire setting.  House Talpidy is one of the few clans of Imperial nobility with drive and ambition, or at least some sense of stewardship for the residents of their land, which sits on the border with what were once the Northern Provinces, but are now known as the Pine Hells or the Ice Kingdoms.  Under an ambitious and active heir the Talpidys are hiring an army of mercenaries and fortune hunters from both sides of the border to deal with threats in their lands and reclaim their patrimony, potnetially including:

1) The Sword Barrow (See Below)
2) White Catherdral (A monumental series of salt mines infested with feral arcane machines)

3) Tilpady Husk (A near collapsed Imperial factory hive, still haunted by its degenerate workforce
4) The City of Alpanie (Ruined mountaintop city, long ago sacked by Northerners)

Below is the teaser and intro for the Sword Barrow with a map and some art.


The Sword Barrow

North up the Great Pass, a week from Talpidy town, looms a pillar of rock, icy gray, standing sentinel over the high point of the pass.  The jagged stone and livid lichens of the pillar are a contrast to the trade road's tumbled stones, split by harlequin green moss, and the rolling alpine meadows of most of the pass.  In the lee of this uncompromising fragment of the high shears hulks a barrow, mounded up, the blankets covering a slumbering god. Above a huge stone sword, chipped and weathered, driven deep into the barrow.

Imperial Legionary with Culverin
All the peoples of the Pine Hells know the story of the Sword Barrow, built on the site where Kullevro the Implacable and a united army of Pine Hellsman ambushed and massacred the Empire’s XXI Legion.  The battle of the pass was expensive and long, pitting war colossus, force lance and bound celestial beings against waves of tribal warriors, ancestral spirits to reanimate the dead, and the shadow sendings of circles of shaman.  Kullevro died in the battle along with a great number of the Northern warriors, but it also marked the final fall of the Northern Provinces, and allowed the much depleted Hellsman force to sack the mountain top city of Alpanie.  Power struggles over who would lead the united force delayed the Northern advance from Alpanie, and the invaders the levies of the local nobility turned them back in the end.  His retreating nation erected Kullevro’s barrow at the site of the battle, and forced captive Imperial magisters to create many of its features, such as sword marking it.

The great battle occurred eons ago and few debris (beyond the pillar itself, pulled up from the earth’s bones to act as the Imperial headquarters) remain from the conflict.  Still, the mound is a holy place to the peoples of the North, and in the lax manner of their worship, most Pine Hellsman will raise a hand, or worry a strand of prayer beads in respect as they pass. It is customary to leave the swords of dead comrades thrust into Kullevro's barrow, and its sides bristle with rusted weapons. In the past year, the barrow has attracted the attention of Northern chauvinists, a cult calling itself the “Seventh Egg” has coalesced around the barrow with the goal of raising Kullevro to conquer the Talpidy lands  to invade the Empire.

The holiness of the site, its location beyond the official border, and existing treaties with their Northern neighbors make it difficult for the Talpidy to use direct force against the cult and barrow without sparking a larger war. Instead the Talpidy are in hiring disreputable treasure hunters to loot the barrow, massacre or drive off the cult and desecrate the grave of Kullevro.  The noble house will pay 1,000 GP per tomb robber, up to 10,000 GP total, for a proper desecration of the tomb. 



  1. Cool stuff. Nicely retro-futuristic culverin.

    1. Culverins are pretty easy to make look retro-futuristic.

  2. "Pine Hells" is my name of the year so far.