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Southlands and the Arabian Nights

The Arabian Nights by Maxfield ParrishSome things naturally go together, like cake and ice cream. Among them are incredibly rich and unique campaign settings and adventures that stir them to life. Kobold Press brings the distinctive flavor of the Middle East, Egypt, and Africa to Midgard with the Southlands Kickstarter. Southlands is what I describe as being an expansion to the existing Midgard campaign setting, which draws upon those exotic lands and distinctive cultures to add even greater diversity to Midgard. What could be more exciting?

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Why I Love the Southlands

Southlands Scarab

Allow me to confess my deep and abiding love for all things wild and free, dangerous and ancient, roguish, magical, and lost in a distant time. This can be Russian myths or Norse sagas, but it can also be something closer to the heart of the ancient world.

Now, I blame King Tut for this. I was still in grade school when his treasures and mask toured the U.S. in 1976, but I fell hard for the power of antiquity—the sheer rich stretch of time separating me and this young pharaoh. It’s been more than 4,000 years since the last pyramid was built. It’s tough to wrap your brain around how different things were, and it completely obsesses me at the same time. I remember learning that baboons took a role similar to police dogs in ancient Egypt, and the hieroglyphics looked like pure magic to me. History is more fantastical and bizarre than we give it credit for, sometimes.

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Review: The Grudgebearer by J. F. Lewis

GrudgebearerThe members of the race called the Eldrennai have pointed ears and live a long time. They created a race of warrior slaves called the Aren and then they crafted a plant-like race called the Vael, who were designed to appeal to the Aren. The main reason behind the creation of the Arens was to defeat a race of magically resistant lizard people named the Zur. The Eldrennai held the Aren captive for thousands of years, forcing them by oath and magical compulsion to serve their whims and fight their battles for them. All this was just fine for the Eldrennai until the Sundering, when the Aren rose up and fought for their freedom.

Now, after the Sundering, all three races meet every century for the Grand Conjunction to renew their peace treaty. This novel takes place six hundred years after the Sundering. Kholster the Aren is still the first of the original one hundred Aren created and still the leader of his people. He has not forgotten the shackles of slavery placed on him by the Eldrennai and has vowed an oath to kill every Eldrennai who was alive during the Aren enslavement. Kholster has also vowed to attend the Grand Conjunction to listen to the peace overtures of the Eldrennai. This conjunction is different since an Eldrennai prince has broken the treaty by unearthing sentient suits of Arenese armor that were sealed away as terms of the treaty. With yet another oath broken by the Eldrennai, Kholster must find a way to protect his people and fulfill his own oaths, even if it costs him everything.

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Collection of Curiosities: On the Cultists’ Altar

"Jiro the Kobold" by Pat LoboykoAfter the adventurers deal with the cultists, or when they stumble upon a more benign sacred area, it’s time to explore the area. You can roll randomly for a result below, use the handy number provided with each entry to figure out your result on a d12. You can also pick the one that works for the area in which your characters currently linger.

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Southlands: Favorite Player Options

Genie Shaitan Matt BulahaoThe assagi stabbing spear…Aeromancers exchanging their spells for air-themed powers…werelions!…animal hide armors…zebra mounts…the huge elemental companions of the Tamasheq paladins…the Kijani, a playable race of symbiotic plants…tactical feat trees of the Narumbeki Legions…the bounty of poisons and medicinal plants of the Living Jungle of Kush…

The Southlands project has generated an amazing slate of player options. We have new equipment, magic items, feats, traits, spells, archetypes, races, spell systems, and, of course, monsters to battle. We constantly oscillate in a pattern of obsession about each and every player option when discussing how it fits into the setting and cultures around it. Our goal has been to make each one more intriguing than the one before, but also to make them appropriate for the region. When you start digging into a manuscript as big as Southlands, though, you’re bound to have a couple of favorites.

Right now, we’re particularly excited about a few player options. For instance, Brian loves…

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