Sunday, December 17, 2017

40 Questions for Mother Stole Fire

As a follow up to this post, I present answers to setting questions by +Jeff Rients (here) and +Jez Gordon (here).


Jeff's 20

1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?

The Gods of Man number in the teeming thousands. There are big gods and small gods, those with priesthoods and churches, those without. Chief among them are Ama Adimatha, her husband Baba Tubalkhan, their children, and DOG - they don't have much in the way of official priesthoods and are revered by just about everyone to some extent.

For those who want a bit more hands-on approach, there are the Powers of the World - which is really just a blanket term for any sufficiently powerful being that might be willing to lend you power and favor in exchange for service. Orca is one of these.

The Grand Heresy is the antireligion held by the inhabitants of Hell. Its practitioners seek to subvert, enslave, and destroy the Gods of Man, and hate Mother and her family most of all. It is a brutal and sadistic hierarchy, used by the powerful to crush the weak underfoot.

The New Gods live in secret cities on the Moon, and wish to inherit the next age of the world. Their followers give up all connection to their humanity, the Gods of Man, and the world itself.

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?

The general store, farmers' market, and public square are good places to start, and you'll find those in any modest town or greater. Alternatively, you can find more unique (but still relatively standard) items through the 100-Eye Merchant Cult, the Samson & Angel Journeyman's Catalog, or any number of enterprising traveling salesmen. Packages delivered via amazons on bicycles is not out of the question.

3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?

Big John & Sons is the best smithy in all the Russet Hills. You can find branches elsewhere - always check if the head smith has got a badge stamped by the man himself. If so, they're the real deal.

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?

This is a dangerous question, as past a certain point figuring out an answer means catastrophic arcane war. Current favorites are Mier the Red, Hadzan Ramathavan, Cota-Jan, Ozwald Wirralbin

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?

Again, there are many, depending on who you ask and where you are. Gold Enesh would be the most common answer, but he is getting on in years. Sofi Scarbelly is shaping up to be the best warrior the amazons have seen in generations. Abride Larn, while having killed multiple drakes single-handedly, has put adventuring on hold to do tours for his book. Zedrithon Taraxus is a barmy lunatic who worships his sword and is planning a wedding with it.

(The actual greatest warrior is a tag-team of an old man and his adopted grand-daughter, who run a soup stand in the leper-quarter of Janaskut)

6. Who is the richest person in the land?

Mammon, Duke of Hell, is so wealthy that entire currencies are backed by his existence. The second-richest is Jemadi Atel Dur, Overlord of Cinnabar, but just barely over some scions of the Dragon Guilds.

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?

The Petal Houses of Ool have a monopoly on healing potions. Otherwise, you can try your luck with a fleshcrafter, a church-run hospital, or a magimedicus.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?

  • Poison - Cured by witch or alchemist.
  • Disease - Cured by witch or alchemist.
  • Curse - Requires a specific ritual to break. A witch can point you in the right direction.
  • Level drain - Rest, recovery, physical therapy.
  • Lycanthropy - Can be suppressed, but not cured, by a wizard.
  • Polymorph - Can't be undone, but a wizard could further transform you into something more palatable.
  • Death - None. Undeath is a sidestep, not a cure.
  • Undeath - Exorcism (for spirits) or fire (for bodies).


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

Wizards coalesce in universities, alumni organizations, and generic cliques. Smaller schools and traditions are everywhere, mostly sidelined by the bigger circles. The exception are the non-hierarchical wizards of the Magelands.

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Ask around, someone will be able to direct you to the local witch or cunning man. A typical small town will usually have an apothecary, alchemist, or scholar, and it's about half-half odds on whether they've got an actual education.

11. Where can I hire mercenaries?

Dungeon hobos are common wherever there are monsters to slay, ruins to delve, or odd jobs for strange folk. For the services of more traditional, notable (and expensive) companies, you will have to go to their offices and make your offers directly.

Of the larger companies, most feared are the Sableswords of the City Magpie. 

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

Public weaponry in civilized areas will generally require some sort of trade license or the permission of a patron or organization. Magic is difficult to outlaw, but it helps to have your diploma handy, just in case you need to prove you're legitimate. Wizards in positions of power love sumptuary laws, usually about hats.

13. Which way to the nearest tavern?

Right over thataway. If you can't find a close one, there's always a Pub Crawler: they're monsters that look like giant fuzzy caterpillars with taverns built on top of them

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

The Great Manticore of Ist, the Tyrant Swan of Celendais, the Beast of Bracewell, the All-Monitor, the Cantordevil all fit this descriptions, as do dozens of others.

15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

There's always a war of some sort that's going on or wrapping up. Formalized proxy wars via mercenary company are gaining in popularity, as you get all the fun of war with less collateral damage and bad press - these are generally held on the deadly island continent of Austrollac.

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

The Thousand Emperors of Hespir cling to the pageantry of old in the Crumbling Coliseum., sportsball stadiums can be found wherever there are wizards in large numbers, Cinnabar has cook offs in the Pavillion of Delights, and there are always rumors of the dread Blood Bath House lurking down some darkened alleyway

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

Wizards love them, and so they can be found anywhere wizards are. Many of them are more like arcane social clubs or open-secret societies, and so sinister agendas are not necessarily required.

18. What is there to eat around here?

Wandering flavormages have spread new and exciting schools of monster-based cuisine across the world, shaking up the very foundations of food arts. Monster-hunting for cooking purposes is a healthy and profitable trade.

19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

Plenty. Darvatius' empire left countless ruins behind in its global conquests, not to mention all the war-material and arcane machines that got left behind in the chaos.

Ba-Vradesh, the emperor of Acephavara some centuries ago, was economy-shatteringly rich (just ask the economy) and some of his secret vaults still remain.

20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?

True dragons are extinct. Mostly. False dragons, metaphorical dragons, and temporally-misplaced dragons do still exist, but most common variety one can find is the common drake: a large, angry reptile with wings and fire-breath.

Jez's 21

1. Why were settlements founded here?

The DM said they were there, and lo, they were there.

2. What are the local funeral customs?

To prevent the body from being inhabited by a rogue spirit or some other power, the eyes are removed and coin-capped bronze nails are driven into the sockets (Eyes, being the gateway to the soul, are the primary path of possession).

Cremations are tricky, as they are very effective in preventing possession but can birth a cinderwight if performed improperly. The appropriate ministrations of an ashwarden can prevent this from happening: if you absolutely need to do it on your own and don't have the supplies, remove the eyes, stick a hot charcoal in the mouth, and hope for the best.

3. How do neighbouring settlements communicate with one another?

The Post Office, through a complex system of runners, riders, hot air balloons, and trained gargoyles, will deliver just about anywhere. They are fiercely independent and do not take well to attempts to bring them under the control of another party. They have their own divine patron, Postmaster Fennic.

4. How dramatically does your campaign location change from season to season?

It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. If you're in Distant Lands, it might be hot or cold all year, or cold in the summer and hot in the winter. Sometimes the weather goes nutty and just stops making sense, but that's usually the fault of wizards.

5. What are the biggest local celebrations each year? 

Springtide, Summerseve, Goblinwatch, and Wintermas mark out the seasons and man's relationship with the Folk. Mother's Day is celebrated in late spring. The rest of the year is filled up with the feast days of various gods and saints, historical celebrations, and whatever else the locals feel like celebrating. People in Distant Lands have different, strange holidays.

6. Where is the safest place for someone to stash a considerable sum of coins and treasure?

Banks, hidey-holes, secret caves, or inside a Hoardgobbler. The last option is favored by more adventurous types, as the creatures have a reputation for being both loyal and incessantly clever, as well as mobile and  gastro-intestinally extra-spatial.

7. What is the local standard of medical technology in replacing missing bits and body pieces?

Fleshcrafters can manage grafts and transplants (watch for alien hand syndrome), and thaumechanical limbs can be crafted by skilled arcanoartificers. All of these options are pretty expensive.

8. What are some local superstitions?

Spill salt, toss pepper over your shoulder; shark teeth are good luck; keep a smooth stone in your pocket while traveling; hostile Folk can be sniffed out by their reaction to mismatched socks; witches dispel all luck, good and bad; spookums can't get you with whiskey in you.

9. What is the scariest local myth?

The Hesselgraüm (Broken Man) is a portent of ruin: its appearance foretells eschatonic madness and destruction, the loss of self in the face of greater powers, and the ultimate self-destruction of man. 

10. Who collects tribute and taxes for the powers that be?

The Tax Lads of Mammon are not your friends. They will find you, and you will pay what you owe.

Outside of them, there are the regular old taxman of the local king / overlord / wizard / elected representative / other head of state.

11. What are the best places to get a drink round here?

The Golden Hammer is a hole in the wall on the distant wasteland border. The local beer and mead are fantastic, it's good for some news, and can be fortified if the local tribesmen get too rowdy. It's run by a cheery (if not incredibly bright) woman by the name of Jubilee and her business partner and possible-lover-we're-not-sure, Briggs (who is the local sheriff).

The Crow's Foot is an utter madhouse, attracting the freaks from far and near like a metaphysical magnet. People will swear it changes locations and burns down regularly.

12. Where can you buy animals round here?

The local marketplace for mundane, which might have some visiting breeders of exotic animals.

13. What is the local settlement missing?

Exotic magics and rare goods from Distant Lands are always in demand, as is problem-solvers for local monsters and undead.

14. What is the local mascot of the town or region?

The cloud manta is a common sigil of good fortune and freedom across all of the Mare Interregnum and beyond. In a more literal sense, there was the ill-advised and disastrous attempt by old Acephavara to re-brand their empire by personifying their outdated, colonial-expansionist attitudes as a cute mascot girl.

There's also Mundo.

15. Where's the best place to pick up a few hired hands?

Daily or migrant laborers (hobos) will take and offer jobs in the public market, usually alongside a posting board. Most won't use the board, and will just have the sign or tool of their trade as their identification.

16. What's the local take on the end of the world?

It doesn't come to mind often, as Mother seems to have the world well-enough in order. This doesn't mean that the world is safe from existential threat, of course, and of those there are four.
  • The Eleventh Dragon (the past catching up)
  • The New Gods (the future bearing down)
  • Hell (self-destruction)
  • The Tolling, Ticitok, God of Time (running out of it)

17. Is there a local hedge wizard, witch, or shaman of no great power but one who cares for the locals and helps deal with their tribulations?

There's always someone of that sort within a day's travel of civilization (unless you are supremely far out there).

18. What games do the locals like to play?

The most popular spectator sport is wizardball (also called sportsball), which is more or less Calvinball played by wizards, with some human-scale chess for player classes, American football for violence, and magic for cheating.

19. What crimes are punishable by death?

Murderers and rapists will see themselves on the gallows. Wizards tend to love bizarre, ironic punishments.

20. Have any great disasters destroyed local settlements?

The city of Osterite was eaten up in a single night by the nightmares of a terrible monster. It has been seen to emerge from nowhere on poor-omened nights.

21. Where can you find maps of the region?

Mapping services (as well as exploratory) are handled by the Royal Cartographers' Guild (i.e. the Kingless Brotherhood of the Directionally Challenged). They make wonderful maps

1 comment:

  1. Because every DM needs a special snowflake setting all of their own.