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The Grand Duchy of Karameikos

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Player's Background

History 

This is the land’s history as known to the peoples of Karameikos.

  The first part of the history is recorded in an epic work of poetry of the Traldar (Traladara) people, “The Song of King Halav.” This is an ancient work maintained by generations of bards before finally being committed to writing about six centuries ago.

 

The Song of King Halav

  In ancient times, the land now called Karameikos was the forest homeland of the Traldar, men and women so favored by the Immortals and allowed to live in these beautiful lands.

  The Immortals let the Traldar live happy, simple lives. The Traldar fished and hunted; the men spent most of their time sporting with one another and offering praise to the Immortals.

  But the Immortals knew that the happiness of the Traldar was to end. Far to the west, a race of evil beast-men was preparing to march through the easterly lands in search of booty, prisoners and more hospitable homelands.

  These beast-men had their own Immortal sponsors equal in might to the patrons of the Traldar, so only victory between man and beast-man would determine the fate of the two races.

  The Immortals descended to Lavv, a Traldar village, to find clever youths and give them secrets they could use to defeat the beast-men.

  They visited Halav Red-Hair, a maker of stone knives, and taught him to forge weapons and armor of bronze. They also taught him the arts of the sword and the strategy of warfare. They visited Petra, a maker of pottery, and taught her art of the bow, the craft of medicine, the use of the potter’s wheel, the spinning of flax and the use of the loom.

 

They visited Zirchev, a huntsman, and taught him how to tame and ride and fight from horses, how to train dogs to fight for their masters, how to walk silent as the cat, swim as the fish, see as the hawk.

  Halav, Petra and Zirchev told the people of Lavv of what the beast-men intended. The king laughed and tried to drive the trio from Lavv. Halav, using the bronze sword given him by the Immortals, slew the king and assumed his crown.

  In the years that followed, King Halav, Queen Petra and the Huntsman Zirchev taught their secrets to the people of Lavv and brought all the other villages of Traldar lands under their sway. Villagers grew into mighty cities, and Halav was renowned for his fairness and wisdom.

  Eventually, the beast-men attacked in numberless waves from the west. The Traldar in glittering bronze armor stood against them. The irresistible force of the beast-men crashed into the unmovable object of the Traldar, and the war went on forever. Both sides lost great numbers of warriors; each Traldar fighter slew dozens of his bestial enemies before being slain.

  Finally, King Halav managed to find the king of the beast-men alone on a hilltop. The beast-king was twice the height of a man, with the head of a wolf and a hairy body that was foul beyond compare. It brought its great axe against the sword given Halav by the Immortals.

  This was the final battle of man and beast-man. It raged on from dawn until noon, both kings growing so tired that each could barely wield his weapon. In the “Song of King Halav,” both take time to rest during the fight and each describes his resoluteness and unconquerable fighting ability.

  Evidently both were right: King Halav and the King of the Beast-Men perished upon one another’s weapons. Their armies looked upon one another, the beast-men now fearful because their king had perished, and the Traldar resolutely raising their weapons and barring the beast-men from advancing.

  The beast-men departed Traldar lands. Queen Petra and Zirchev took up Halav’s body and returned home. Great was the lamentation in Lavv when they arrived, but, during the ritual burning of Halav’s body that night, the Immortals visited, spiriting Halav, Petra and Zirchev away. The Traldar mourned their king but turned their eye toward rebuilding their lands into a mighty empire.

The Dark Age

  The time of King Halav has since been called the Golden Age of the Traldar, and (as all citizens of Karameikos know) the Traldar never did found a mighty empire or even fully recover from the devastation brought by the beast-men.

  Why? Well, according to Traldar legends which have sprung up since this Golden Age, the land needs to have its king returned to it-King Halav must return to Traldar lands before this can become a mighty nation again.

  Regardless, following the destruction of the Golden-Age Traldar, the peoples of this land descended into a dark age from which they didn’t fully emerge until the last century.

  Individual villages survived, and the tribesmen eventually lived at greater than subsistence level. Trade soon commenced with Minrothad and Thyatis peoples. The descendents of the Traldar, called Traladara, began inching their way toward economic recovery. But the Traladara still faced many problems.

  In the centuries after the Golden Age, many evil things settled in the Traladaran forests and mountains. Some evil force cursed the land with vampires, lycanthropes, and other beasts. Today, every Traladara village has its legends of a neighboring ruin once occupied by a vampire-lord, or some village lad turning out to be a were-wolf and slayer of villagers. Often, the legends are true, and every good Traladara youth knows that the land has its vampires and were-beings still.

  Because there were horrid things in the woods, travel between inland villages was unsafe. So, while the coastline villages prospered from the foreign trade, while only the bravest of traders would risk expeditions into the Traladara interior. As a result, the inland villagers tended to remain isolated and more ignorant than their seaside cousins.

  During this dark age, clans of goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs also settled in Traladara lands-usually some distance from the human communities. They warred upon one another, and upon the humans, and in general made the land less congenial for everyone.

  More peaceable tribes of elvish and gnomish settlers also came to Traladara, though. The elves settled in the central forests of the land, while the gnomes settled in the mountain foothills northward. Both races traded peaceably with the humans and fought beside them against the less friendly demihumans tribes.

Modern Traladara

  Traladara, a century ago, was a well-known trading spot, particularly Marilenev, its chief city, built where the Volga River enters the sea. There, Traladarans' traded valuable furs for weapons, wines and other spirits, a profitable enterprise.

  Most of the Traldaran profits stayed on the coast and the lands immediately inland. Few traders ventured inland; those that did included the annual Gnome Caravan, a well-armed force of gnomes who descended from the northern hills, traded a year’s accumulation of craft goods in Marilenev, and made their way back to gnomish lands.

  At about this time, the nations of Darokin and Thyatis began to view Traladara with increasing concern. The forest nation had never offered them any threat, so they had never erected any significant defenses against Traladara. But what if its people should be united under a powerful leader-or worse yet, conquered by an enemy foreign power?

  The empire of Thyatis decided the matter by sending troops to the Traladaran capital, Marilenev, and conquering it, claiming all Traladara for Thyatis. Darokin shrugged and began steps to make sure its border was secure.

  Thyatis took few real steps to secure Traladara for itself. It installed a garrison of soldiers in Marilenev. The military commander at the time renamed Marilenev ‘Specularum” (The Mirror City) after the reflective beauty of Marilenev’s bay. A tax collector took in revenues on all trade money which changed hands in the city.

  Other than that, the rest of Traladara was left pretty much to itself. The more isolated communities were completely unaffected by the “conquest.” The traders suffered a Thyatian tax, but the greater Thyatian interest in Traladara meant that trade boomed and they profited more anyway.

  That’s how conditions remained until thirty years ago. At that time, Duke Stefan Karameikos III, a youthful nobleman of Thyatis, struck a deal with the Emperor of Thyatis. Karameikos, in essence, traded his valuable ancestral lands for Traladara-and a guarantee of autonomy. The Empire recognized Karameikos’ claim to Traladara, now renamed the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, and recalled its officials from Traladara territory.

  Duke Stefan traveled to his duchy, announced his assumption of ruler ship over Traladara, and put down the armed insurrection which resulted. After things had settled down somewhat, he began luring ambitious, landless nobles from Thyatis to help him rule this land in proper Thyatian fashion.

  The early years of Duke Stefan’s rule were characterized by both good and bad results.

  On the bad side, many of the Thyatian settlers who poured into the country, swearing loyalty to Duke Stefan and receiving land grants, were ruthless men who literally stole lands from the Traladarans’ living upon them. Worst among them was Duke Stefan’s own cousin, Baron Ludwig “Black Eagle” von Hendriks.

  On the good side, Duke Stefan himself was an exemplary leader, demanding fairness and honor in the men he directly supervised. He began using the trade tax revenues to build broad, good roads across the country, uniting the far-flung villages into a single nation. He built a substantial army, using native Traladarans’, Thyatian immigrants, and even Callarii elves, to protect the Grand Duchy. In short, he began the long, slow process of building Traladara, a land of unfriendly villages and wolf-howls in the night, into a strong trade nation.

  Today, the Grand Duchy is still growing into that nation-it is still young, with its two halves of the population (Traladaran and Thyatian) largely unmixed and its interior mostly uncivilized. But it is growing stronger day by day, and most of the nations of the continent have representatives in Karameikos, a sign of the nation’s growing international importance.

The People

  Most of the humans of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos fall into two categories: Native Traladarans and those of Thyatian descent. Other inhabitants of the duchy include elves, gnomes, humans of mixed descent, a few dwarves and halflings, the savage demi-humans in their distant villages, and traders who’ve settled in Karameikos-and among that last category are representatives of practically every humanoid race and nation in the world.

 

Traladarans

  The Traladarans, descendants of the native Traldar tribe of legend, tend to be fairly small (men average 5’9”, women 5’3”) and light of build. They tend to have pale complexions, brown eyes, and dark hair (deep brown to black).

  In general, they are very superstitious people-if you can call it superstition when it’s based on truth. They are great believers in good luck charms, omens and portents (palm reading, the reading of tea leaves or sheep entrails, interpretations of natural phenomena if it’s a strange event, the Traladara consider it an omen), curses and evil eyes.

  Outside the larger towns, education is not widely-spread. In the more rural communities, most villagers are illiterate, though often a cleric will be lettered. (Player Characters, being exceptional people, don’t have to worry about this; if you have enough Intelligence to be literate, you can be literate if you wish. If you prefer, because of the way you conceive your character, that he be illiterate, that is also your choice.)

  For the most part, Traladarans don’t care much for Thyatians. They see the Thyatians as the latest wave of bad luck which keeps the Traladarans from re-achieving their Golden Age. Since many of the original Thyatian arrivals were rotten land-grabbers, many of the Traladarans see all Thyatians as being the same. (If you don’t wish for your own character to feel this way, he doesn’t have to.)

  Though the majority of the population of Karameikos is Traladaran, the court language is Thyatian. Thyatian is the language of official documents and trade and is basically the “Common Tongue” of Karameikos. Most Traladarans under the age of 30 speak Thyatian, usually with a distinct accent which marks their Traladaran origins.

 

Thyatians

  Most of the nobles in Karameikos are of Thyatian descent, and a sizeable proportion of the commoner population is of Thyatian descent.

  Thyatians tend to be physically larger than Traladarans, men averaging around 5’11” and women about 5’5”. The Thyatians have had centuries to interbreed with other nations, and so there is no one Thyatian look; hair ranges from dark blonde to dark brown, with occasional redheads (including the Duke); eye color ranges from blues to browns and blacks. The Thyatians tan more easily in the sun than the paler Traladarans, who tend to sunburn easily.

  The Empire of Thyatis is a large, flourishing empire with powerful armies, strong trade relations with the great nations of the world, lavish arts and entertainments, and a cultural standard equaled in few places in the world. So it’s natural that many of Thyatian descent tend to feel superior to the native Traladarans. Among many of the Thyatians, there is a sentiment that Traladarans are superstitious and ignorant, and many feel that Thyatian spoken with a Traladaran accent denotes lack of mental ability. (Again, this is a prejudice which you don’t have to foist on your own character if you don’t wish to.)

 

Half-Breeds

  In the last thirty years, since the arrival of Duke Stefan and his followers, there have been born many children of mixed Thyatian and Traladaran descent. Most of them are the children of Thyatian men who immigrated to the duchy, fought in the Duke’s army, then retired to wed local women. Very few children of Thyatian women and Traladaran men.

  A half-breed is likely to be somewhat taller than the average for Traladarans, usually with dark hair and blue or light brown eyes. How he feels about Thyatians and Traladarans will depend on the way he was raised, but in most cases the half-breeds recognize that neither Thyatian nor Traladaran has any great advantage over the another; the half-breed gets along well with people of both backgrounds.

 

Elves

  Most of the elves in Karameikos are of the Callarii tribe, a merry and hardworking tribe proficient in riverboating, riding, horse-trading, hunting and foresting.

  Callarii elves are robust and healthy, with very pale hair (blonde to white) and blue eyes. They tend to wear tunics or robes of green with leaf-patterns embroidered upon them.

  The elves are neutral toward humans in general. They become fast friends with humans who demonstrate honor and humor; they do not cooperate with humans who are pretentious, dishonorable or rude. Duke Stefan has a guard unit entirely composed of Callarii elves, which has given many elves the chance to meet him, and the Callarii are favorably disposed toward the Duke.

 

Gnomes

  The largest gnomish community, called Highforge, is in the mountain foothills several miles east of the town of Threshold. It’s a large and secluded community composed of gnomes (and one allied dwarven clan); it is mostly self-sufficient but profits from trade with the southern humans.

  The gnomes are well-disposed toward the Duke; they did not observe much of the Thyatian abuses against the Traladarans, but are well aware of the improvement of trade and communication which have resulted from the Duke’s building of roads throughout the land.

  The gnomes have no preferences between Thyatians and Traladarans.

 

Dwarves

  The dwarves living in the Grand Duchy are either members of the Stronghollow clan up in the gnome community, or are dwarven professionals who have immigrated into Karameikos-often acting as professional soldiers in the service of the Duke or one of his barons. When they do express a preference between Traladarans and Thyatians, the dwarves tend to prefer the company of Thyatians, who are practical people, and not superstitious-ridden like the Traladarans.

 

Halflings

  The halflings in the Duchy are mostly immigrants from the Five Shires, drawn by the heavy trade in Karameikos and living as professionals within the human communities of the Duchy. There are many halfling traders, craftsmen and innkeepers in Specularum, Kelvin and smaller communities. While there are no large halfling clans in Karameikos, the halflings have their own “subculture,” and many frequent taverns and other facilities which cater only to halflings. When halflings do admit a preference between Thyatians and Traladarans, they side beside the latter, whom they consider life-loving, romantic, expressive people, instead of the Thyatians, whom they think colder and less sympathetic.

Karameikos Coat of Arms
Tap shield for map

 
Description:
The heavily-forested region used to be known as Traldara, a “nation” that was really a loose confederation of independent baronies.
  Thirty years ago, Stefan Karameikos, an ambitious nobleman of the nearby Empire of Thyatis, traded his ancestral lands to the Thyatian emperor for Thyatian recognition of Karameikos’ right to independent rule of Traldara. Spending all his family fortune on mercenary armies, Stefan Karameikos invaded Traldara, quickly conquering the nation’s largest sea-port, Marilenev, and settling garrisons in all the region’s larger communities. 
  He renamed the nation after himself: It became the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. Marilenev he renamed Specularum, a much more Thyatian sort of name. The Grand Duchy was recognized by Thyatis as an independent nation: although its rulers never called it a kingdom, that is effectively what it is.
  Stefan Karameikos set up his allies and cronies as regional rulers, allowing the original Traladaran rulers to retain their baronies only when they swore allegiance to him.
  The Thyatian rulers, though they control the nation’s economic and military might, don’t have complete control of the land. Karameikos is dark and forested, with hundreds of square miles populated only by animals, by loggers and foresters, by non-humans such as elves and goblins. The Traladaran forests are an ancient home to vampires, werewolves and other dark creatures of legend. Secret Traladaran popular movements oppose the Thyatians, occasionally sabotaging the plans and activities of their rulers.
 
Ruler:
Duke Stefan Karameikos, thirty years older and more experienced, still rules his land. He tries to keep his nation strong, the better to discourage invasion from dangerous neighbors-such as Thyatis. He does not actively oppress the Traldarans to improve the lot of his Thyatians: the laws he passes are written to be fair to all. But Karameikos himself cannot enforce every law, and many of his Thyatian subordinates are not as scrupulous in their dealings with the Traladarans. Karameikos’ wife is Duchess Olivia, an icy, intelligent woman who is a good advisor for him: his children include Lady Adriana (age 20, a notoriously independent fighter), Lord Justin (age 18, a slight young man with a talent for mathematics and trade), and Lord Valen (age 14, a clever and somewhat sneaky young man anxious to learn about the world.
 
Population:
Karameikos is a divided land, its majority Traldaran population ruled by the invader Thyatian population. The Traldarans are a very free-spirited people whose dress and names are similar to those of Balkan Europe. The Thyatians are pragmatic and self-centered, with the conquering instincts of the ancient Romans (with their tastes in entertainment, too). The two elements tend to dislike one another greatly.

Map of Specularum

Specularum:
The capital city of Karameikos has a population of 50,000 or more (the Traldarans don’t willingly cooperate in the census). It features a great deep-water bay through which much shipping moves, the well defended royal palace of the Karameikos family, a foreign quarter, a dangerous slum called “The Nest”, several merchant districts, the walled-off Duke’s Park, and much more.

Map of Threshold

Threshold:
This northern town of 5,000 residents is a logging and farming community surrounded by untamed wilderness.

Nestled at the foot of the Black Peak Mountains, and bordered to the north by Lake Windrush, the town is surrounded by a dense wilderness where vampires and werewolves abound.

The town comprises several fishermen's camps, the den of thieves known as Fogor's Isle, also a logging camp in the higher ground to north, where trees are felled and floated downstream to be chopped into lumber. It’s an ideal home town for player characters. Threshold is ruled by Baron Halaran (also known as Patriarch Sherlane, a cleric).

Fort Doom:
This is the capital of the Black Eagle barony, which is ruled by Stefan Karameikos’ cousin, Baron Ludwig von Hendriks. Von Hendriks is a dangerous man who terrorizes and brutalizes the populace of his domain; he also conspires to take the throne of the Grand Duchy. Fort Doom has a population of 10,000.
 

Kelvin

  Kelvin, second-largest city in Karameikos (population 20,000) is built where the rivers Windrush, Hillfollow and Highreach (Wufwolde, Shutturga and Volaga) merge.

  Kelvin was designed to be a way-stop for entire caravans and a fortress defending the surrounding territories. It is a large, walled encampment. Inside the walls are a large field for caravans to set up and a secondary wall in which is the city of Kelvin proper; inside the city is a third walled area, the garrison fortress and castle of Baron Kelvin.

  The city and surrounding baronial lands are ruled by Baron Desmond Kelvin II, son of the founder of the city. Baron Kelvin, though young for hid duties, rules well, with military efficiency and impartiality.

 

Krakatos

  Krakatos is a ruined stone-walled village of antiquity; some of the action in “The Song of King Halav” takes place here, and the site is of some fascination for Traladaran visitors. It has no inhabitants and should not be used as an origin-place for characters.

 

Luln

  Luln, a town of about 5,000 citizens, is a ramshackle community of refugees who have fled the Black Eagle barony and Fort Doom. It’s poised between the armies of the Black Eagle barony and Karameikos, and is a small, struggling community.

  Its town master is Mistress Sascia; she is gradually organizing the village into a permanent, fortified community and there is speculation that she is trying to acquire a noble title.

 

Highforge

  This is the gnomish community, including five clans of gnomes (totaling about 6,500) and one of dwarves (about 1,000).

 

Callarii Lands

  The Callarii elves live in the central forests east and west of Kelvin and in the forested foothills south of the gnomish community. Accurate numbers for the entire elvish population of Karameikos are not available (the elves don’t bother to keep them and the humans can’t tally them), but a reasonable guess is that there are about 7,500 elves scattered through this territory, living in communities of 100-200.

 

Smaller Villages and Homesteads

  Finally, though we won’t discuss them in great detail here, there are numerous villages and homesteads all across Karameikos.

  There are several small villages given by name on the map but not described in the text above.

  Additionally, there are literally hundreds of homesteads along the rivers and roads of the duchy. These are one- or two-family settlements, mostly farms and logging operations, with populations ranging from a handful of people to as many as 750 inhabitants.

 
Adventure Opportunities:
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos really is a place of mysteries. So little of it is settled by humans that there is endless opportunity for adventure in the nation’s woods and northern mountains. Ancient ruins lie here, long forgotten by the Traldarans and not yet discovered by the Thyatians: There are lairs where vampires lurk: There are caves from which goblin and bugbear raiders harry isolated settlements; there are hidden camps of Traldaran freedom fighters who plot the downfall of Stefan Karameikos.

The National Spirit

 

  Before we get on to the business of character creation, let’s discuss what it means to be a Karameikan.

 

Traladaran and Thyatian

  Earlier, we discussed the differing beliefs and opinions of the Traladaran natives and Thyatian settlers of the Grand Duchy.

  Keep these beliefs in mind when creating your characters-they’ll give you many role-playing opportunities.

  But also keep in mind that these are the opinions the Traldarans and Thyatians express when confronting one another.

  When confronting the rest of the world, Karameikans refer to themselves as Karameikans-citizens of the best nation in the world.

  Karameikans know their nation doesn’t have the sophistication of Glantri or Thyatis- and they’re glad. Too much sophistication, they say, is just another term for decadence.

  Karameikans fighters consider themselves as tough as the best fighters of any nation in the world.

  Karameikans of Traldaran descent know they’ve survived the worst that can be thrown at them-the “Song of King Halav” tells them so- and that, one day, they’ll build themselves again into the most prosperous and amazing nation in the world. This isn’t an arrogant, chip-on-the-shoulder attitude, but the quiet assurance of people who know it to be true and patiently wait and work to bring it about. Most citizens of Thyatian descent who were born in Karameikos have been infected with this philosophy, too.

  So, to be Karameikan is to know that you belong to a nation destined for greatness. And to be a Karameikan adventurer, you must also believe that you are part of what will bring this greatness about. Karameikan adventurers aren’t braggarts, constantly tooting their own horns and insulting or slandering other lands … but they do have a quiet, stubborn assurance that no one else is better than they.

 

The Shearing Ceremony

  The native Traladarans have a custom which is an important part of the Karameikan national character.

  Called the Shearing Ceremony, it was developed in the village of Marilenev (Specularum) and was in common use there and in surrounding areas in the centuries before Thyatis conquered Traladara. Since that time, improved trade with the inland communities has spread the Shearing Ceremony throughout the land. When Duke Stefan and the Thyatian settlers came, they were acquainted with the ceremony and generally adopted it.

  It goes something like this:

  When a Karameikan youth approaches adulthood, either he will approach his parents or they will approach him with news that it is time for the Shearing.

  Soon after, at a dinner to which other family members or village leaders may be invited, the youth stands silent while his parents solemnly dress him in traveling gear. The bottom of his cloak is sheared off and left ragged as a reflection of his condition: That of an impoverished traveler.

  From that time, the sheared youth is considered a friend of the family but not part of it. He must make his own way in the world until the family decides he is worthy of the clan. Usually, living apart from the clan for a few years and participating in acceptable adventures or trading ventures is proof that the youth is able to prosper on his own; when his parent reach that conclusion, he is invited to another dinner, at which time he is presented with a garment bearing the clan’s markings or coat of arms. This indicates that he is once again part of the family.

  All young men between the ages of 14 and 19 (1d6+13) are Sheared. (Usually, the lad approaches his parents first, because it’s an embarrassment to wait so long that they come to you.) Young women are not approached by their parents, but may insist that they be Sheared. Being Sheared and living away from the family for a few years is a good way for a young woman to earn respect within her family.

  When the Thyatians came to Karameikos, they saw in the ceremony a way to separate the worthwhile from the parasitic in their own families, and adopted the custom.

  A Sheared youth from a titled family is not considered to have any title until he is invited by his family to rejoin their ranks.

  Shearing is a human custom, not shared by the demi-humans of Karameikos.

...Character Creation...

 

If you're going to create characters from Karameikos, use these rules. If you're not, read them anyway - they include some notes and special rules which may be of interest to players and the DM.

  Create your character - his ability scores, class, hit points, money, equipment and alignment - exactly as described in the Dungeons and Dragons game. A list of names, and notes on the differences between Thyatian and Traldaran names, is given below to help.

  Don’t use the level title for your character. If he’s a 1st level Magic-User, write down that he’s a 1st level Magic-User – not a Medium.

  In Karameikos, there are only a few titles – they’re official designations granted by the Crown, the Church, or other powerful parties. When adventuring in Karameikos, we won’t be using the D&D game titles at all.

 

Character

Backgrounds/Human

 

Now we determine where your character is from – both his “home town” and the social standing of his family.

 

Family Social Standing

  Roll percentile dice (1d100) and compare the result to the chart below. This will tell you the economic standing of the family your character comes from.

 

(Roll 1d100)

 

01-30

Penniless

31-60

Struggling

61-75

Comfortable

76-85

Wealthy/Untitled

86-95

Wealthy/Titled

96-97

Very Wealthy/Untitled

98-99

Very Wealthy/Titled

00

Royal Family

 

  The lowest class is “Penniless.” There is no slavery in Karameikos.

  Important note: When you roll your Family Background, write down the number you rolled; you’ll use it again momentarily.

 

 

Traldaran or Thyatian

  Now that we know the social standing of the character’s family, we can determine whether the family is Traldaran or Thyatian is composition.

  If you don’t feel you know enough about Karameikos to choose your family ethnic background, then roll percentile dice (1d100) and add one-half of the number you rolled for the Family Social Standing chart above (round down). (For instance, if you rolled 67 on the Family Social Standing chart, you’ll roll 1d100 here and add 33 to the total.)

  Compare the result to the chart below to determine your family’s origin.

 

(Roll 1d100 plus previous roll)

 

01-70

Traldaran

71-90

Mixed

91+

Thyatian

 

  If your result is Traldaran, your family is predominantly Traldaran and its head is of the native population. If your result is Thyatian, your family is predominantly Thyatian and its head is of that people. If your roll is Mixed, your immediate family contains both Traldarans and Thyatians; the DM will determine exactly how your family is set up, but the usual arrangement is of an ex-military Thyatian father and Traldaran mother, with relatives from both sides of the family.

  If, on the Family Social Standing chart, you rolled a 00 (Royal Family), you’re automatically Thyatian.

 

Home Town

  Finally, we get to find out where you’re from. If you don’t feel you know enough about Karameikos to choose, or if your DM prefers you to, do this: On the chart below, roll 1d20 and add any appropriate modifiers from those listed below the chart. The result is your characters origin.

  Remember that if you’re a member of the Royal Family you’re automatically from Specularum.

  The DM always has the option of choosing from which home town your character is, and is especially likely to do so for Wealthy characters.

 

(Roll 1d20, add modifiers listed below)

 

01-03

Black Eagle Barony

04-10

Homestead (Choice)

11-13

Village/Town (Choice)

14-16

Kelvin

17+

Specularum

 

Modifiers:

 

Character is a Cleric:

+2

Character is a Magic-User:

+4

Character’s family is Comfortable:

+2

Character’s family is Wealthy:

+4

Character’s family is Very Wealthy:

+6

 

Explanation of Chart Results

  The place you rolled is your character’s home town. Here are some notes on the individual chart results:

  Black Eagle Barony: The character grew up in the awful barony ruled by Ludwig von Hendriks. If he is of Neutral or Lawful alignment, he successfully fled the Barony at the time of his Shearing, but his family is still here. If he is of Chaotic alignment, he is probably a character in the employ of or related to the Black Eagle Baron.

  Homestead: The character grew up in one of the innumerable family homesteads scattered across Karameikos. With the permission of the DM, he may decide where that homestead is and may even choose one listed on the map.

  Village/Town: The character grew up in one of the numerous Karameikan villages or towns. With the permission of the DM, he may decide which is his home town from the ones shown on the map.

  Kelvin, Specularum: The character grew up in the city indicated by the die-roll.

 

 

Character Background

Demihumans

 

The demihumans communities are not as numerous or diverse as the human communities, so it’s simpler to determine a demihumans character’s background.

 

ELVES

 

Family Social Standing

  Though the elves in Karameikos do have complicated and intricate social structures, “social standing” is not an important element of that structure. The elf’s profession, and the way their professions are related and utilized to the good of the clan, are the important elements of the elvish social structure.

  So most Karameikan elves are “commoners,” or elves who go about their professions – foresting, hunting, fishing, fighting, animal training, scouting, etc. Some few families are community “lords,” and it is they who coordinate the efforts of the community.

  None of the elves in Karameikos live in grinding poverty or in lavish wealth. By human standards, all elves are “Comfortable.”

 

(Roll 1d100)

 

01-90

Common

91-00

Lord

 

Race

  There are two types of elves in Karameikos.

  Most common are the Callarii elves – bright, energetic elves living in the central forests.

  There is another elvish community within the Karameikan borders, though, that of the Vyalia clan. We’re not including much information on the Vyalia clan in this Players’ section, as that part of Karameikos is largely unexplored.

  Should you roll a Vyalia background for your elvish character; the DM will brief you on your home community and origin.

 

(Roll 1d100)

 

01-95

Callarii

96-00

Vyalia (DM’s option)?

 

  Home Town

  You’re free to choose where your elf comes from (with DM approval). The woods where the elves are most numerous are shown on the map, and your character is most likely to have grown to maturity in those woods.

  However, you can also choose your character’s current residence. Many warrior-elves have served in the Duke’s Elvenguard in Specularum and now live in the human communities working as freelance soldiers and adventurers.

DWARVES

 

Family Social Standing

  Dwarves have a more human-like social structure in their community. However, they tend to look after their own more than the humans do, so there is no “Penniless” class among them. Roll a Dwarf’s family social standing on the chart below:

 

(Roll 1d100)

 

01-30

Struggling

31-60

Comfortable

61-95

Wealthy

96-97

Very Wealthy

98-00

Ruling

 

  The Highforge community is a craftsman, mining, and trade community, so the fortunes of the very wealthy are based on creation and sale of exquisite crafts.

  Among dwarves in Highforge, the families of beginning craftsmen or miners (apprentices), or soldiers protecting the community, tend to be struggling.

  The families of improved craftsmen or miners (journeymen), officers of the soldiery, and merchants who accompany the annual Gnome Caravan tend to be Comfortable.

  The families of ranking craftsmen and miners (masters) tend to be wealthy.

  The families of craftsmen of great ability (masters with exceptional skill) tend to be Very Wealthy.

  The male and female heads of the Stronghollow dwarven family of Highforge can bear the titles of Lord and Lady.

 

Home Town

  All dwarves of Karameikan origin come from Highforge originally. With the DM permission, you can have your character now be a resident of another community, perhaps living in one of the larger human cities.

 

The Adventuring Dwarf

  The craftsmen and traders of Highforge don’t approve of their own children gallivanting around and performing adventures. Therefore, a dwarf adventurer will not receive any of the benefits of his family’s wealth until he returns (for good) to his family and community.

HALFLINGS

 

Family Social Standing

  Roll your Family Social Standing on the following chart:

 

(Roll 1d100)

01-20

Penniless

21-50

Struggling

51-95

Comfortable

96-00

Wealthy/Untitled

 

  Home Town

  You may, with DM permission, choose your home town.

Other Character Traits

 

By now, you’ve created your character and generated the basic facts of his background. Here are some final things to consider about your character.

 

Names

  Following are some guild lines to character names found in the Grand Duchy of Karameikos.

  You’re not required to follow these guidelines of course. They are, however, a good indication of what’s normal for the various types of humans and demihumans found within the Duchy.

 

Human/Thyatian

  Characters of Thyatian origin tend to have given names which are reminiscent of ancient and classical Roman and Byzantine names: Varis (Varia), Alexander (Alexandra), Valerius (Valeria), Titius (Titia), Claudius (Claudia), Anastasius (Anastasia), etc. Other given names are appropriate fantasy names.

  Their surnames tend to be strong, majestic-sounding monikers: Karameikos, Penhaligon, Korrigan, for example.

 

Human/Traladaran

  Characters of Traladaran origin have names with a strong Eastern and Central European flavor. Some examples follow:

  Male names: Boris, Dmitri, Fyodor, Grygory, Ilya, Ivan, Mikhail, Pyotr, Sergei, Stephan, Yakov, Yuri.

  Female Names: Anya, Darya, Ecatrina, Ilyana, Irena, Katarina, Kuzma, Magda, Misha, Petra, Sula, Zandra.

  Family Names can be created by adding one of a number of suffixes to given names. Such suffixes include “os,” “ov,” “ev,” “nov,” “evich,” “escu,” etc. Example: Ivan becomes Ivanov; Dmitri becomes Dmitros.

 

Elvish

  Karameikan elves tend only to have one name, something lyrical and unique, Examples: (Male) Thalaric, Allandaros, (Female) Sythandria, Stellara.

 

Dwarvish

  Dwarf given names are a bit hard-sounding and weighty. Family names tend to derive from wartime deeds or special abilities.

  Examples of Given Names: (Male) Thoric, Boldar, (Female) Friya, Brunna.

  Examples of Family Names: Shieldcracker, Ironboot.

 

Halfling

  Halfling given names are just like common English given names.

  Family names are have several syllables and describe family characteristics of professions.

  Examples might include Bill Trenchermann (from a family of big eaters) or Anna Hillfort (from a family with a well-defended hilltop home).

 

The Mystaran Year

Months of the Year

Karamiekos

Nuwmont*

Vatermont

Thaumont

Flaurmont

Yarthmont

Klarmont

Felmont

Fyrmont

Ambyrmont

Sviftmont

Eirmont

Kaldmont

*First day of year celebrated

 

Days of the Week

Lunadain

Gromdain

Tserdain

Moldain

Nytdain

Loshdain

Soladain

 

Known World Economics

 

Taxes:

Karameikos:

Quarterly income taxes of 25% (20%for nobleman) are collected on Vatermont 1 (for Sviftmont-Kaldmont); Yarthmont1 (Nuwmont-Thaumont); Fyrmont 3 (Flaumont-Klarmont); and Eirmont 1 (Felmont-Ambyrmont). Sales tax is 5% on all sales. Import taxes are assessed at 1% of the cargo’s value. Penalties for tax evasion range from small fines or one day in jail (for minor offenses) to fines up to 30,000 gp and up to six years in jail.

 

Currencies

 

Coinage

Nation

Platinum

Gold

Electrum

Silver

Copper

Other

Karameikos:

-

Royal

-

Crona

Kopec

-

 

Basic Metal Values: 1 gp = 2 ep = 10 sp = 100 cp; 5 gp = 1 pp

 

Currency Exchange Fees

 

Currency                  Fee

Karameikos:                     10%

 

\

Major Imports and Exports

Nation

Imports

Exports

Notes

Karameikos

Weapons & tools, armor, rare furs

Wood, animals, furs, common metals

Horse breeding is on the rise; may soon export mounts

 

CHEVALL

 

CLIMTE/TERRAIN:       Non-arctic plains, forests, mountains

FREQUENCY:                Rare

ACTIVITY CYCLE:       Day

ORGANIZATION:          Solitary

DIET:                               Omnivore

INTELLIGENCE:           Very (11-12)

TREASURE:                   M, Q (C)

ALIGNMENT:                Neutral good

NO. APPEARING:          1d3

ARMORCLASS:             2 (as horse) or 5 (as centaur)

MOVEMENT:                 24 (as horse) or 18 (as centaur)

HIT DICE:                       7

THACO:                          18

NO. OF ATTACKS:         3

DAMAGE/ATTACK:      ld6 (hoof)/ld6 (hoo0/ld8 (bite)

                                          or ld6 (hoo9/ld6 (hoof)/by weapon

SPECIAL ATIACKS:      Summon and command horses

SPECIAL DEFENSES:   Silver or +1 or better magical weapons

                                          to hit

MAGIC RESISTANCE:  Nil

SIZE:                                L (5' tall as horse, 7'4' tall as centaur)

MORALE:                       Champion (15) as horse

                                         Elite (13) as centaur

XP VALUE:                     650

This sylvan creature can change at will between two forms: an intelligent horse and a powerful centaur.

  As a horse, a chevall may be any color (though a given individual does not change shades). It is typically as large as a light war horse. In centaur form, it has the upper torso and arms of a human being and the lower body of a horse. This form tends to be somewhat smaller than most centaurs, on average, and its ears, unlike those of a standard centaur, are pointed and elfin.

  In either form, a chevall can talk to and understand horses, using sounds which, to human ears, are nothing more than neighs and whinnies. Using this whinnying language, a chevall can command any horse, wild or domesticated, to do its bidding. A paladin's warhorse, and other unusual mounts with average Intelligence or higher, are immune.

  In centaur form, a chevall can speak Common, the language of centaurs, and woodland sylvan tongue.

 

Combat: As a horse, a chevall can kick and bite as noted above. In centaur form, it also bites, but usually wields a wooden club or short bow instead of kicking. In either form, it can only be harmed by silver weapons or magical weapons of +1 or better enchantment.

  Once per day, a chevall can magically summon ld3 medium war horses, which arrive in ld4 rounds.

 

Habitat/Society: Chevalls strive to ensure the well-being of all horses. Once native to the plains, they now appear anywhere that wild or captive horses exist. They often go about in horse form, checking on the welfare of horses in the service of humans, demihumans, and humanoids. If a chevall finds a horse that is unhappy with its lot (because of maltreatment or neglect), the chevall will not rest until it has freed the animal.

  A chevall travels alone or in groups of up to three. If three chevalls are encountered, there is a 50% chance the group is a, mated pair and a foal (which has half the Hit Dice and inflicts half the damage of adult specimens).

Foraging sustains chevalls as they travel. They favor vegetables and grains, and may (in horse form) gain nourishment from grazing (although they consider grass a very bland food, and prefer tasty oats and barley). While they are omnivorous by nature, most chevalls adhere to a vegetarian diet. This may stem from moral conviction or sheer habit. Chevalls may accumulate some treasure during their travels. They often trade this for food and goods, bargaining with centaurs and other friendly creatures.

 

Ecology: Although animals such as dogs are wary of chevalls, horses never fear them. Chevalls hate wolves and are the blood enemies of werewolves. According to chevall lore, chevalls were created long ago by an Immortal who wished to protect horses mistreated by their human masters.

 

                     Chevall Speed Table

                      Horse form            Centaur form

Walk                    12                             9

Trot                      24                            18

Canter                  36                            27

Gallop                  48                            36

 

A chevall can carry no more than 260 pounds and still travel at its full speed. It can travel at half speed while carrying up to 390 pounds, and can move at one-third speed while carrying up to 520 pounds.

  As noted in the Player's Handbook (Chapter 14), in a day of travel over good terrain, a creature can travel a number of miles equal to twice its normal movement rate (a trot); that is, a chevall in horse form can cover 48 miles. In dire circumstances, a chevall can push itself to a canter or gallop. A canter can be safely maintained for two hours, or a gallop for one hour, but then the chevall must walk for an hour before increasing it speed again. A chevall will not gallop if loaded with enough material to reduce its normal movement rate by half; nor will it canter or gallop if carrying a load which will reduce its normal movement rate to one-third normal.